Arimathea to Cranmer


The disputes and wranglings of informed historical opinion during the period were manifold. Saxonist confronted Saxonist, the pedant of monasticism vied with the antiquarian of diocesan rights. One convenient means of access to the disputes of the period can be found in William Nicolson's English Historical Library (1696-9), in essence little more than a partisan bibliography of the current refinements in historical learning. Nicolson's work, in effect and design, was a handbook of the fruits of true research, and by implication of the correct interpretation of the past. Edward Gibson writing to Thomas Tanner in May 1696 commented upon Nicolson's draft,

that part which I have seen is drawn up gentleman-like (as you know he does everything) but contains little in substance, but what you and I know already. 'Tis a book very likely to take, and will be a good manual to inform the generality of mankind what has been done in our English affairs, whether topographical or historical.[1]

Although Nicolson's work was little more than a reference work (without any great academic insights), it enabled the uninitiated laity to come to a 'true' perception of the past.

The work consisted of three parts: Book I dealt with topographical and geographical matters, Book II with ecclesiastical history, and the third with a description of the contents and locations of public records. The second book identified the important polemical foci of scholarly debate. The general premise of the English Historical Library had been the search for true, impartial and disinterested history.[2] Nicolson insisted on the need for a 'general Examen, a sort of an Universal Index Expurgatorius, that points at the mistakes and errors of every page of our several historians'. The intention <54> of the work was to winnow the 'good sterling History' from the chaff of 'romance or Buffoonry'.[3] Thus addressing the 'England Protestant Reader' he presented his catalogue of worthy ecclesiastical historians.[4] The bare bones of English Church history were displayed and a canon of good histories provided to fill this form with persuasive description. The origins of the English Church were examined in the form of a bibliographical commentary upon the traditions of Joseph of Arimathea and King Lucius, and the usurping attempts of Augustine. Edward Stillingfleet's Origines Britannicae (1685) was unequivocally recommended as the best scholarly work which 'perfected all the collections of former writers on that subject'.[5] History from Augustine to the Reformation was described briefly, but dismissed as a tale of papal dominance, Catholic accretions and popish superstition. The greatest eulogies were reserved for the account of the English Reformation. The primary text was John Foxe's Acts and Monuments (1570).[6] Although Foxe's work was the seminal text in its narration of Protestant suffering and the triumph of the true religion, the demands of faith and the requirements of scholarship were in conflict. There were some few errors in Foxe's account.[7] The true monument both to erudition, truth and faith was Bishop Burnet's History of the Reformation (first 2 volumes, 1679-80) which was recommended in unreserved terms, while other histories like Peter Heylyn's were rejected for their partiality.[8] Nicolson staunchly defended Burnet's work from all malicious assaults upon his integrity and learning.[9]

The Protestant canon created by Nicolson in his bibliography was convicted by the High Church man Francis Atterbury, in his Rights of Convocation (1700), of dangerous latitudinarian principles. Nicolson's impartiality was impugned. As a young scholar Nicolson had certainly entertained no latitudinarian inclinations; Thomas Hearne suggested that he was a youth of devout High Church beliefs. By the 1690s Nicolson was in correspondence with men of a Whiggish tenor like Edward Gibson, White Kennett and William Wake. The publication of the English Historical Library and Atterbury's hostility towards it pushed Nicolson further into latitudinarian circles. After his consecration as Bishop of Carlisle both his London and provincial diaries are testimony to his frequent contact with men of the highest eminence, such as William Lloyd, Bishop of Worcester, <55> Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, and Archbishop Tenison.[10] On 29 January 1702 Bishop Lloyd presented Nicolson with Kennet's recently published Whiggish Church history of Convocation; the following day Kennet himself sent Nicolson another copy. In February 1702 Nicolson proudly distributed copies of his own Scottish Historical Library to Tenison, Burnet and Lloyd. In June of the same year Nicolson recorded in his diary that the dinner conversation at Lambeth Palace with Tyrrell, Burnet and Evelyn had been much concerned with the 'Atterburians'. By mid-1704 Nicolson was in open conflict with Atterbury and his faction, in particular over his appointment as Dean of Carlisle. In his diary Nicolson noted and denied the accusation that his hostility towards Atterbury had been inspired by 'measures from Lambeth'.[11] Although it would be foolish to press the point too far, it is clear that Nicolson's bibliographical exercise launched him into the heart of the ecclesiological wranglings of the period. In intention a follower of historical veracity, in his creation of a Protestant canon he had become identified with the Whig- latitudinarian cause. The contents of this historical canon display the contributions of scholarship to ecclesiastical ferment.

The position of the Church of England was ambivalent; it had, at the same time, to uphold its authority as a valid institution, while distancing itself from the heritage of Roman Catholicism. While historical continuity with the early Church argued against the charge of innovation, this connection with the past had to be divorced from Catholic tradition. The issue was further complicated by Roman polemicists who were insistent on displaying the Catholic lineages of the Anglican Church. Men such as Baronius and Cardinal Bellarmine had supplemented their arguments against the reformation of theology and Scripture with historical example. Such works as Nicholas Saunder's De Origine et Progressu Schismatia Anglicanae (1585) and Thomas Stapleton's translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History (1565) with an appendix that suggested the Augustinian plantation of the faith of Rome in England was the first reception of Christianity, necessarily provoked some 'historical' response from the apologists of Anglicanism.


One of the most frequently discussed histories was the account of the regal supremacy of King Lucius, and the tradition that the British nation was converted to Christianity by Joseph of Arimathea. The historical narration of <56> the early conversion of the British Isles was an important ideological tool against papal pretensions. Belief in the traditions of Joseph of Arimathea and King Lucius penetrated deep into the historical mentality of the period. The Anglican vision of the origins of the Church of England was constructed in opposition to powerful Catholic interpretations like Robert Parsons' A Treatise of Three Conversions (1603). Parsons' work argued that the English Church was subject to Rome because she owed the institution of her faith to St Peter. This foundation was later reinforced by Pope Eleutherius and St Augustine. The Anglican apologists swiftly replied to this work with counter- assertion. Matthew Sutcliffe in his Subversion of Robert Parsons (1606) insisted that Parsons' claims were 'dreams and fancies', that his 'proofes stand upon conjectures'. The arguments and testimonies for St Peter being in England were weak and frivolous.[12] Francis Goodwin, Bishop of Hereford, in an appendix to his Catalogue of the Bishops of England (1615) entitled 'A Discourse concerning the First Conversion of this Island of Britain into the Christian religion', further denigrated Parsons' assertions. He argued that the testimony for the Petrine conversion rested upon the bare report of Simon Metaphrastes, who was a 'notable lyer … of notorious untruthes'.[13]

Goodwin was persuaded by the evidence that St Peter had never visited British shores: the proofs were more 'pregnant' for St Paul's visitation. The first conversion was made by Joseph of Arimathea. He wrote 'for Joseph of Arimathea, the testimonies of his coming here, and his actions here, they are so many, so cleere and pregnant, as an indifferent man cannot but discerne, that there is somewhat in it, our conversioner mentioneth them so faintly.'[14] Goodwin brought forth 'evidence' that would advance the 'credit' of the history: the charters giving twelve hides of land to the monastery Joseph founded at Glastonbury were particularly convincing. He produced even more tangible evidence in the form of an 'ancient inscription engraved in brasse, heretofore fixed upon a pillar of St Joseph's Chapell'. The inscription was transcribed for the benefit of the reader.

Joseph of Arimathea's conversion of England has many variants. The most common was that Joseph had been a disciple of the apostle Philip who had sent him in AD 63 to convert Britain, shortly after the death of Christ. A further tale was that Joseph had been imprisoned after the crucifixion of Christ, but had managed to retain a chalice of Christ's blood which he had transported to Britain where he founded a monastery at Avalon with the permission of King Aviragus. This tradition was to blend and blur with the Arthurian myth of the Holy Grail.[15] The main source for the tradition was <57> William of Malmesbury's De Antiquitate written in the mid-thirteenth century. This work in itself was a blend of earlier traditions; in the seventh century Isidore of Seville had referred to the idea of St Philip preaching to the Gauls. A similar reference had been made by Freaugulfus, Bishop of Lisieux, in the ninth century. William of Malmesbury was to conflate all these earlier stories with the history of the monastery at Glastonbury and the tradition of the Charter of St Patrick.[16] The tradition of Joseph of Arimathea was deployed by Goodwin as central to his notion of the continuity of the Anglican Church. This continuity was further reinforced by the example of King Lucius and British independence at the time of Augustine.

Parsons had insisted that Pope Eleutherius converted the British king to Catholicism, and that therefore the British Church owed allegiance to the papacy. Goodwin replied by illustrating the continuity of Christian belief between the time of Joseph and Lucius, and that the latter had been converted by an indigenous Christianity. If there had been any correspondence between Lucius and the papacy it was a relationship of brotherhood rather than subjection. Goodwin produced a letter from the Pope to King Lucius in which the former referred to the latter as a 'vicar and lieutenant immediate of God, subject to none other but God himself'. Lucius was the first model of the Godly Prince. According to Goodwin's narration Lucius was to renounce his crown and become the apostle of German Christianity.[17] Goodwin dealt with Parsons' claims for the Augustinian conversion in a similarly hostile manner. Augustine was treated as a model of the pomp and pride of the modern papacy. The British clergy were portrayed as bravely denouncing the attempts of the interloper. In Augustine the reader could find 'a true picture of a proud priestly spirit full fraught with malice and revenge (as is always ye case) when they have power to exercise it, under ye disguise of piety and religion: or (when is ye best pretence of all) ye interest of ye Church, by which is meant only themselves, and ye bigoted tools of their own mischief'.[18] Goodwin intended to convince the reader that the 'historical' claims of the Catholic Church to authority over the Church of England were false.

This earlier three fold tradition of Joseph, Lucius and Augustine was altered by the close focus of historical scholarship. The two greatest works of original research were Henry Spelman's Concilia (1639) and James Ussher's Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates originally published in the same year, but also importantly republished in 1687.[19] Spelman's work was a comprehensive collection of statutes, letters and unpublished manuscripts concerning the history of the British Church, focusing in particular upon <58> evidence for an early institution. In the introductory Apparatus Spelman discussed the available evidence for the Arimathean conversion of England. One of his findings was that the brass plate upon which Goodwin had laid so much importance was in fact a medieval production. James Ussher took up the same theme in his work. He carefully examined the genesis and variant mutations of the Arimathean tradition, the extent of Lucius' conversion to Christianity, and Augustine's invasion of the British Church. These works were perennially popular. Rather than examine them in detail I wish to show how they were used by later polemicists.[20]

An example of the polemical usage of this earlier scholarship is Thomas Jones' Of The Heart and its Right Sovereign (1678). Jones was rector of Oswestry, and Chaplain to the Duke of York, although he was vocally anti-Catholic. Jones presented the 'true' origins of Christianity in England, arguing that the faith was received in Britain before St Peter's visit to Rome. In the same thrust he suggested that St Augustine's actions were a direct invasion of British liberty. Following the erudite antiquarian research of Archbishop Ussher, Jones recounted how the faith had been brought to British shores by Joseph of Arimathea. Although he rejected the many fabulous accounts of miracles, revelations and visions that accompanied Joseph's foundation of the monastery at Glastonbury, the evidence of extant manuscripts and charters indicated the truth of the history.[21] Further credit was brought to the tradition because it had been brought to 'publicke test and examination in several general synods of Europe'. The 'renowned Ussher', citing the impartial testimonies of the Councils of Pisa and Constance, of Gildas and the Early Fathers, Theodoret and Nicephorus, insisted that the Arimathean tradition was 'far out of doubt and question'.[22]

Jones argued for an indigenous Christianity in Britain, to counter the Catholic precedent of the relationship between Pope Eleutherlus and the British monarch King Lucius. The papists had claimed that Eleutherlus had converted Lucius to Christianity, and that therefore the British Church was subject to Rome. Jones argued that there had long been a Christian tradition in Britain, and that the case of Lucius provided a parochial equivalent of the Constantinian model. The evidence, as Jones argued following Ussher, clearly indicated that the Pope had referred to Lucius as the 'vicar' of his kingdom. Jones continued to anatomize the invasions of popery into British liberty; in particular the attempt by Augustine in the early seventh century. <59> The intruder had allied with pagans and the pride of the Saxon kings in an attempt to eradicate the 'true' religion.[23]

The polemical point of Jones' presentation of the early history of the British Church was to legitimate the Reformation in terms of a reclamation of 'primitive liberty'. This renovation was effected by the authority of the Christian magistrate. Jones was careful to elevate the right of the secular authority over that of the Church; it was only the anti-Christian Church which attempted to dominate the civil power. As he wrote, 'the Christian Mitre attends the Crown'.[24]

Edward Stillingfleet's Origines Britannicae, or the Antiquities of the British Church (1685) subjected Ussher's work to important revisions. The design of this work was 'to give as clear and distinct a view of the state and condition of the British Churches, from their first plantation to the conversion of the Saxons'.[25] Stillingfleet had three intentions: '1. To examine the tradition, concerning Joseph of Arimathea, and his brethren coming hither to plant Christianity. 2. To shew that there was a Christian Church planted here, in the apostles times, and within that compass that Gildas speaks of. 3. To prove the great probability, that St Paul first founded a Church here.'[26] Stillingfleet's argument was that although orthodox opinion was misguided in the precise nature of early British Christianity, they were right in asserting that there had been an early conversion. This was to be proved with the mechanism of historical probability.

Stillingfleet epitomized the researches of Spelman and Ussher in arguing that the myth of Joseph of Arimathea was the product of monkish fable.[27] The probable origin of the tradition was due to the actions of the Saxon Christians, who under the threat of persecution had fled to inaccessible areas of the country such as the Isle of Avalon. These men had been elevated into legends by interested monks who had intended to protect privileges they had usurped from the local laity. Stillingfleet cited Spelman's opinion that the brass plate at Glastonbury was no more than 300 years old.[28] Stillingfleet deployed all the fabulous variants of the story embodied in the tales of the Holy Grail found in Capgrave's Vita Josephi, or the evidence of the Charter of St Patrick. The latter manuscript had been used by the Catholic historians, the Jesuit Matthew Alford (1587-1652) and the Benedictine Serenus Cressy (1605-74), to suggest that Joseph, inspired by the Archangel Gabriel, had <60> founded a church at Glastonbury for the worship of the Virgin Mary.[29]

Stillingfleet noted that the charter was dated AD 425, which pre-empted the system of dating, which as Mabillon had shown, was a later practice. Internal evidence also suggested the document was untrustworthy. The Charter of King Ina which declared that the church was dedicated to the Virgin was shown to be a forgery. Selden's research, into seals and document composition, indicated that the charters were products of the twelfth century. Stillingfleet commented, 'I do not question that King Ina did found a monastery there, where there had been an ancient Church in the British times. But I see no ground to believe, that either Joseph of Arimathea, or St Patrick, or St David had ever been there.'[30]

Stillingfleet insisted that the legend of Arimathea had been constructed by the monks of Glastonbury to elevate the importance of their establishment during the time of Henry II. The latter had confirmed the monks' claims, 'and from thence grew to be the common opinion of the nation, and was pleaded for the honour of it in the councils of Pisa, Constance, Siena, and Basil'. There was not only insufficient evidence in the testimonies, but also 'improbable circumstances' in the story. Having deconstructed the Arimathean myth, Stillingfleet set out to construct a more 'probable' replacement, 'built on the testimony of Ancient and credible writers, and [which] hath a concurrent probability of circumstances'.[31]

The primary evidence for Stillingfleet's vision of early Christianity in England was taken from the venerated authority of Eusebius. The latter 'affirms it with so much assurance', that some of the Apostles preached the Gospel in the British Islands. Theodoret's testimony indicated that St Paul had travelled around Europe; Stillingfleet insisted that 'there cannot appear any improbability that he should come into Britain, and establish a Christian Church here'.[32] The evidence presented by Stillingfleet for Paul's conversion seems unconvincing today: however, to Stillingfleet and his contemporaries it seemed more 'probable' and secure than the tales of Joseph. One of the premises of this probability was that there had to be a pre-papal source for British Christianity. A recent commentator has insisted that Stillingfleet had employed a 'better informed and more critical scholarship' than former <61> men.[33] Although Stillingfleet certainly spent more time and thought on his work than others, he did not advance a purely scholarly opinion but employed sophisticated polemical technique to legitimate the Anglican settlement. In a similar manner Stillingfleet de-Catholicized the tradition of Lucius. Stillingfleet argued that Lucius' conversion was not necessary for the triumph of Christianity in England because the authority and competence of the Church was already established through the apostolic succession. Stillingfleet was insistent that neither 'our religion, nor our government need such fictions to support them'. He discounted Geoffrey of Monmouth's account of Lucius' transformation of the pagan religion into a Christianized form. He was against such a narration because it implied that there was 'no Church here before'. Stillingfleet was certain that there was pre-Lucian Christianity. He suggested that there was a place for training godly men at the University of Cambridge: these men had been responsible for Lucius' conversion.[34] More importantly, Stillingfleet maintained that there was an unbroken succession of British bishops during this period. He made a close identification between the origin of Christianity and the government of the Church by bishops. The next issue Stillingfleet confronted was the nature of episcopal government. Were the bishops created by sacerdotal ordination, or by the consent of the civil order? The evidence indicated that the people did have some part in the creation and election of bishops, but that this was only a power of 'nomination' while the real right of episcopal election lay within the episcopal body. Stillingfleet thus argued that the legitimacy of the British Church lay upon the legality of a fully competent episcopacy. Just as other provinces held self-determination, so the British Church had independent authority. He wrote: 'British Churches had as great privileges and as just rights … as the African Churches.'[35] The 'Cyprian Privilege' was once again deployed against a papal assertion of jurisdiction of the Church of England.[36]

The final evidence of British independence was from the narrative of Augustine's attempted usurpation of the Church of England. He wrote, 'It remains only that we consider the liberty, or independency of the British Churches; of which we have no greater proof than from the carriage of the British Bishops, towards Augustine the monk when he came in full power from the Pope to require subjection from them'. Stillingfleet readily countered the papist claims of Alford and Cressy by displaying the evidence <62> of the 'Dinoth Ms'. This was a contemporary seventh-century document that had been first deployed by Spelman in his Concilia. The manuscript clearly indicated that the British bishops resolutely rejected Augustine's attempt to establish 'subjection' to the papal see under the 'cloak of ecclesiastical unity'. The Catholic historians Alford and Cressy had both suggested that the work was a forgery, specifically created to deny papal claims. Stillingfleet argued for the authenticity of the work, especially when it was supplemented by Bede's declaration that the British clergy would not own Augustine as their archbishop. Thus, although Stillingfleet had earlier argued in Irenicum (1661) that episcopacy was not the esse of a legitimate Church, his history argued that in the specific case of England, episcopacy was the traditional (and therefore legal) mode of ecclesiastical government.[37] It appears that by the time Stillingfleet composed Origines Britannicae he had altered his opinion as stated in Irenicum. In the latter work Stillingfleet had argued the cause of 'moderation' against the rival claims of Presbyterians and Episcopalians. The central argument of Irenicum was that there was no universally binding de jure divino model of Church government: the apostolic age left no evidence of such a prescriptive model, neither did Scripture. This was an epistemological statement: there simply was not enough 'evidence' to reconstruct the true pattern of Church government. The 'testimony of Antiquity' was defective, ambiguous, partial and contradictory; he wrote: 'Now all those uncertain and fabulous narrations as to persons then, arising from want of sufficient records made at those times, make it more evident how incompetent a judge antiquity it is as to the certainty of things done in <63> Apostolical times'. Stillingfleet's insistence was that in the face of this historical uncertainty the idea of a transcendent true model of Church government should be shelved: instead, the legitimate form of ecclesiological settlement was to be defined quite properly by the authority of civil sovereignty. Church government was inherently mutable. Having disposed of the issue of de jure divino government by apostolic prescription, towards the end of Irenicum Stillingfleet focused in detail on the nature of Church government in England. His intention (backed by the impartial opinions of learned divines and scholars like Cranmer, Whitgift and Hooker) was to justify episcopal government not de jure divino but as a 'very lawful and useful constitution'.[38] By the time he wrote Origines Britannicae it is apparent that Stillingfleet now believed that there was enough 'probable evidence' to make a certain case for episcopacy as the original form of Church government, legally constituted in England. Stillingfleet's statements in the later work are powerful evidence of the persuasive role history could play in forming individual beliefs. It also seems clear the Origines Britannicae is not necessarily at odds with the argument of Irenicum. In the latter work Stillingfleet set about addressing a specific question about the obligation of the individual to the legally established Church settlement. Given the epistemological relativism of men's opinions ('for as long as mens faces differ, their Judgements will') and Stillingfleet's concomitant scepticism about the possibility of 'an universal harmony in the intellectual world', coupled with his doubts about the quality of evidence for a de jure divino model for Church government, he chose to answer the question 'what is the legitimate model?' not in terms of a prescriptive historical dissertation but by an analysis of the logics of authority and sovereignty within the idea of political and religious societies. If history could not persuade, then reason must. By the time Stillingfleet composed Origines Britannicae, having endured the slanderous charges of Hobbism and the unreasonable claims for a non-conformist separation from the established Church, it is evident that he felt he could muster enough 'evidence' to make a credible historical case for an original form of episcopal government in England. This historical argument did not contradict the theorizing on the location of authority in the state, but was a crucial persuasive adjunct to these rational arguments. When Stillingfleet had argued in Irenicum that ecclesiastical constitutions were mutable, it cannot have been that he intended to insist that they should be mutable, but simply that Church government had varied with historical and geographical circumstance. By the time of Origines Britannicae Stillingfleet felt confident enough in the status of the evidence to display the specific historical circumstances of the original English Church constitution.[39]



If it had been the brief of Church historians like Stillingfleet or Jones to argue for the jurisdictional competence of the Church of England against Catholic charges of schism, other historians sought to define the legitimacy of the national Church in terms of its institutions: most importantly in terms of the divine right of episcopacy. The occasion of the re-establishment of the Church of England in its full authority, restored to the 'episcopal throne, bearing the keys of the kingdom of Heaven with her, and armed (we hope) with the rod of discipline', was accompanied by a learned volume of historical argument that made the esse of the true Church lie in the divine right of its government by bishops rather than the sole jurisdictional competence of the royal supremacy.[40] One of the major polemicists of the Church of England was the High Church man Peter Heylyn, described by his biographer as the 'venerable Bede of our Age'.[41] Heylyn was applauded as a faithful historian who combined good 'Latin, reason and history' in defence of the Anglican establishment. Heylyn was a High Church man of the Laudian genre: outspoken in defence of the Church in the 1630s and suffering the consequences during the 'Egyptian darkness' of the Interregnum. Heylyn had been hounded around the countryside, fleeing from one refuge to another. One of the hiding holes, at Mr Lizard's house in Winchester in which Heylyn took refuge, was a place of concealment usually reserved for papists, 'in which room, instead of a papist, a right protestant doctor, who was a professed enemy both to popery and puritanism'. With the restoration of both Church and monarchy in 1660 peace once again descended upon Israel, and Heylyn became reverenced by the gentry as 'St Jerome was by St Augustine'.[42] Throughout the Interregnum Heylyn had scoured manuscript collections in search for a scholarly vindication of English episcopacy. Even blindness did not terminate his research. Although the bulk of Heylyn's High Church polemic was written prior to 1660 there was still an extensive corpus of works composed in the early years of the Restoration in the stentorian timbre of the vox clerici.


Ecclesia Restaurata, first published in 1661 and reprinted in 1670 and reprinted in 1670 and 1674, defended the clericalist vision of the Reformation. Even after his death in May 1662, Heylyn was identified with the High Church tradition, in particular, due to the posthumous publication of his works. The first publication of major importance was his hagiographical biography of William Laud, Cyprianus Anglicanus, published in 1668 and reprinted in 1671 and 1719. The work was not only notable for its unashamed approval of William Laud's life and actions, but also for recommending the possibility of a union with the Church of Rome. His argument was that there were only 43 minor abuses and corruptions which separated the two communions.[43] Richard Baxter, the moderate Presbyterian, was aghast at Heylyn's suggestion, arguing that Heylyn's work was evidence of the vigour and continuity of the Laudian tradition in the 1670s.[44]

The importance of Heylyn's polemic was re-emphasized in Aerius Redivivus (1670 two editions, 1672) which anatomized the seditious principles of Presbyterianism. The final monument to Heylyn's centrality as a High Church proponent in the Restoration is the posthumous publication of his historical works The Historical and Miscellaneous Tracts in 1681, prefaced with a eulogistic life of the author. This folio work reintroduced Heylyn's most important pre-Restoration polemics. The volume contained Ecclesia Vindicata, Or the Church of England justified (1657), which was itself a combination of earlier tracts on the histories of liturgies, episcopacy and tithes; the History of the Sabbath, originally published in 1631 and 1636; Historia Quinqu-articularis, first published in 1660; the Stumbling Block of Disobedience (1658) and a Treatise de jure Paritatis Episcoporum composed in 1640.[45] In these works Heylyn presented a coherent and extensive defence of clericalism. It is this vision which we will explore.[46]


The premise of Heylyn's history was that religious worship was a necessary component in human society. Heylyn deduced principles for the true model of ecclesiastical and political order from this axiom. All societies had practised religion upon set terms. In the History of Liturgies Heylyn set about historically refuting the claims of the Interregnum 'Smectymnians' who had insisted that Jesus and the primitive Christians had not employed strictly prescribed forms of religious worship. Heylyn cited the Pauline injunction of 1 Corinthians 14, xxiii, that all things be done in order, thus avoiding the 'chaos of devotion'. Liturgies originated in one divine 'original mould' rather than 'man's extemporal Wit'.[47] Drawing upon historical evidence of both Judaeo-Christian and pagan religion, Heylyn asserted that God had established a transcendent structure for religious worship, consisting of prayer, praise and preaching. He wrote: 'So by the law and light of nature, which was the way whereby he was pleased to manifest himself, and make known his will unto the Gentiles, they were also directed to set forms of worship, though otherwise utterly mistaken in the object of it'.[48] Throughout the work Heylyn made continual citations from Maimonides' work upon the origins of idolatry, intending to use historical examples from other non-Christian religions as evidence of the structural similarity of all religion.[49] For Heylyn the coincidence in the practice of marriage, burial, and priestly vestments, for Judaic, Christian and pagan religions was indicative of divine commendation and prescription of these practices.[50] An examination of the history of 'gentile' religion was necessary,

that we may see how universally all sorts of people have agreed in this, to institute set forms and determinate rites, whereby to order and direct their whole devotions. And having shown out of their most unquestionable records and monuments, with what a general consent they entertained those public formulas which had been recommended to them by the former times; we shall proceed to the affairs of the Christian Church … And then I hope it will seem reasonable to the indifferent and sober reader, that if a prescribed form of worship hath been admitted in the world, semper, ab omnibus, et ubique, according to the rule of Lyrinensis, at all times formerly, in all places too, and by all sorts of people of what ever sect so ever; it must needs be a most unheard of novelty to reject them now.[51]


Christ left the pattern of religious worship and ceremony to the determination of the Church. In answer to the denial of the 'Smectymnians' Heylyn then produced evidence of early liturgies of Peter, James and Mark.[52] Heylyn argued that a set pattern of religious worship determined by the Church was a 'natural' state of affairs, at the same time as asserting that there were historical precedents for it.

Heylyn was also to discourse upon the specific case of England. In the History of Episcopacy (1657) he illustrated the continuity of a de jure divino episcopal hierarchy in Christianity, deduced from the distinct natures of the original twelve Apostles, and the seventy disciples. Heylyn followed the assertions of Cyprian and De Dominis, in arguing that the Apostles were the prototype of episcopal managers.[53] Episcopal authority originated by analogy with the original civil sense of the word which meant 'overseer'; the classical writer Plutarch had referred to the Roman legislator Numa Pompilius as the 'bishop' or guardian of the Vestal Virgins. Heylyn argued, by this historical case, for the subordination of the body of the Church to the hierarchy of the bishops. Although bishops and presbyters shared a common form of sacerdos in relation to the laity, in issues of jurisdiction the priest was subject to the bishop. He wrote in explanation, 'Inferior presbyters may … feed the particular flocke committed to them by the word of doctrine, the Bishop may only … so feed them with the word of doctrine, as that he also rule them with the rode of discipline … so primitive antiquity did arme the Bishop with a Crozier or pastoral staffe'.[54]

Heylyn analysed episcopal authority along traditional scholastic lines. Authority was divided into two forms, 'potestas ordinis, and potestas jurisdictionis; the power of order and the power of jurisdiction'. Heylyn advanced the bishop to a supereminent authority in the Church. The whole power of ordination was vested in the bishop alone; although presbyters participated in ordination it was rather 'ad honorem Sacerdotii, quam essentiam operis, more for the honour of the priesthood, than for the essence of the worke'. The bishop exercised authority over presbyter and laity alike.[55] Heylyn had thus defined the nature of episcopacy, while documenting its continued existence in England, providing an argument against the claims of papists and Presbyterians alike. Following Cyprian's suggestions that episcopacy was a valid authority in itself, and not reliant on papal Rome, in Part Two of the History of Episcopacy Heylyn set out to give a historical defence of English episcopacy. A patriarchal episcopacy was prior <68> to the arrival of the emissaries of Rome upon British shores.[56] Heylyn produced the testimony of Gildas, 'one of the oldest antiquaries of the British nation' who had insisted that the conversion of Britain had taken place during the reign of Tiberius Caesar.[57] While Heylyn acknowledged that this evidence was not totally authoritative, he insisted that there was definite proof for the establishment of an independent British episcopacy in the time of the first Christian monarch of Britain, King Lucius.[58] He wrote,

and herewithal we have a pregnant and infallible argument, that Britaine being in itself a whole and complete Diocese of the Roman Empire, no way subordinate unto the prefect of the City of Rome, but under the command of its owne Vicarius or Lieutenant Generall; the British Church was also absolute and independent, owing not suit nor service, as we used to say, unto the Patriarch or Primate of the Church of Rome, but only to its own peculiar and immediate primate; as it was elsewhere in the Churches of the other Diocese of the Roman empire.

Heylyn followed the argument of Richard Hooker, who had insisted that the status of Church government necessarily mirrored that of the civil model.[59]

Heylyn's history was ecclesiologically anti-papal: he continually lauded the principles and precedents of Cyprian against the claims of the Pope. Cyprian argued that Christ had instituted the Apostles 'with an equality of power and honour; pari consortio praediti potestas et honoris'.[60] Church government was 'aristocraticall', each patriarch being 'absolute and independent with the bounds and limits of his own jurisdiction'. Arbitration between independent Churches was by mutual correspondence, rather than papal co-ordination. These independent patriarchal rights were documented and confirmed by the sixth canon of the general council of Nicea.[61] This presentation not only undermined papalist claims, but again also elevated the authority of episcopacy.

Heylyn's defence of the independent rights of patriarchal Churches can be seen in his treatment of the history of Constantine. The historical model of the first Christian Roman emperor had been central to the rhetoric of the Reformation. The vision was engraved on the mind of English society via John Foxe's Acts and Monuments (1570) which presented the security of the English Church relying upon the protection of the Godly Prince. Although Heylyn referred to Constantine's conversion as a 'blessed sunshine', a Prince 'whom God raised upon purpose … to become the greatest nursing father <69> thereunto, that ever was before him in the Church of Israel, or since him in the Israel of the Church',[62] he constructed a defence of the Church from a pre-Constantinian period of history. The implication was that the Church held independent existence from the monarchy. Heylyn had insisted that the procedure for settling disputes among the stars of Christendom was 'innate' within each Church, being located within the convocation and assembly of both national and provincial councils. This power was exercised by each Church 'as their own particular' before the protection of Christian emperors was available. Even after the establishment of Christianity under the wing of the civil state, 'that power is not extinguished but directed only'. The model of the pre-Constantinian Church was to be repeatedly invoked by the non-jurors of the 1690s, to uphold their notion that the Church was to be considered as a separate societas from the civil state, with its own forms of hierarchy, duty and obligation.[63]

The second historical period that Heylyn concentrated his polemical effort upon was that of the Reformation. It was of crucial importance to the Anglican Church that the Reformation settlement was freed from the Catholic charge of heretical schism. Heylyn defended the Henrician experiment in Ecclesia Restaurata, Ecclesia Vindicata, Historia Quinqu-Articularis, and most succinctly in the introduction to Cyprianus Anglicus. The first of these works saw Heylyn's explicit defence of the Henrician innovations. The Reformation was a renovatio carried out by the clergy under the aegis of the monarchy. The reforming principle was not the Protestant continuity of Foxe's Wycliffe, but a return to the model of the primitive Church. He wrote: 'The superstitions of the Church of Rome [were] entirely abrogated, and all things rectified according to the Word of God and the Primitive practice.'[64] This interpretation of the Reformation was legitimated by the idea of the rights of a national Church, which as the conciliarist Jean Gerson had suggested could reform itself per partes, rather than through the operations of a general council. Heylyn's narrative is punctuated with references to clerical dynamic behind the changes; in Ecclesia Vindicata this was given a full conceptual treatment. Heylyn noted that the English experience was commonly attacked from two sides, 'by <70> those of Rome, to have too little of the Pope, and too much of the parliament; by those of the Genevian Party, to have too little of the people, and too much of the Prince'.[65]

The Catholic polemicist Thomas Harding had accused the Anglican settlement of being 'meer Parliamentarian'. Heylyn recognized the detrimental effect such claims could have upon the integrity of his Church; he was insistent that all alterations and renovations in religion had been instituted, ordered and created by the clergy. The crucial point for Heylyn was the nature of the clergy's submission to the statute 25 Henry VIII. Prior to this act the clergy, 'acted absolutely in their Convocations, of their own authority, the kings assent neither concurring nor required'. The Act of Submission simply restituted to the English monarchy rights which had been usurped by the papacy. The Reformation was executed, 'by the Clergy in their Convocations … the Parliaments of those times contributing very little towards it, but acquiescing in the wisdom of the sovereign prince, and in the piety and zeal of the ghostly fathers'. The role of the Parliament was simply to add the 'temporal sword' to the rulings of the Convocation, to make them more effective. Heylyn explicitly refuted the accusations of the Catholic Saunders, who suggested that the Act of Submission had rendered the authority of the clergy dependent upon the civil power. Episcopal authority came from no other 'hands than those of Christ and his Apostles'.[66] In reply Heylyn repeatedly indicted the historical usurpation of monarchical rights by the papacy, employing the arguments and evidence of such men as diverse as Jean Gerson the conciliarist, and Paolo Sarpi, the apologist of Venetian independence.[67] Echoing an earlier sermon of Laud 'Jerusalem is builded as a City', Heylyn argued that the English Church was as a 'city at Unity in itself'. Within the structure of this independence the monarchy entertained coercive authority over the clergy in issues of 'corruptions of manners, or neglect of the public duties to Almighty God, abuses either in the Government or the parties governing'. The monarchy, however, had no control over doctrinal purity; the only arbitrators in this theological area was the whole body of the clergy 'rightly called and constituted'. The monarch following the pattern of the biblical kings (Josias, Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah) could aid and facilitate the restoration of true doctrine, but was incompetent in doctrinal issues without clerical inspiration.[68] Heylyn denied the monarchy any sacerdotal power.


The image of the Reformation for Heylyn was an action directed by clerical inspiration to expel the illegitimate accretions of popery. Ecclesia Restaurata had a further polemical point to score. The pure waters of the Convocation's reform, had been muddied by the impure waters of self-interest and heresy. The 'transmarine' influence of Jean Calvin and Zwingli had attempted 'to reduce this Church into … nakedness and simplicity'. The 'pyrates of court' had attempted to enrich themselves under the guise of renovation. The Edwardian reforms, in Heylyn's presentations, saw 'the pillars of the Church removed, the very foundations of it shaken, and the whole fabric of religion so demolished, that scarce one stone thereof did seem to stand upon the other'.[69] Contrary to the Protestant tradition of Jewel and Foxe who had treated Edward VI as a second Josiah, Heylyn ignored the Godly Monarch, while the reign of Mary, usually the focus of extended anti-Catholic invective, was treated in detached prose. On the other hand, every opportunity was employed to revile the influence of the 'Frankfort Schismatics' who were repeatedly portrayed as attempting to press the legitimate Reformation beyond its true bounds. Heylyn replaced the popish threat to the English establishment, with that of Continental Protestantism. Calvinist theology was presented as contradictory to the principles of both religious and civil security. The Geneva Bible was reviled as seditious, 'in reference to the civil magistrate and some as scandalous in respect of civil government'.[70] Heylyn hysterically indicted the infiltration of 'Zwinglian Gospellers' into the Church of England.[71]

The Reformation was presented as a necessary institutional exercise; what Heylyn lamented was the self-interested men who had attempted to radicalize the clerical momentum for their own aggrandizement. In the Stumbling Block of Disobedience he anatomized the political and theological distortions of Jean Calvin's thought. Turning from this theoretical discussion, Heylyn documented the history of these subversive ideas in Aerius Redivivus, Or the History of The Presbyterians (1670). The history extended from the first institution of Presbyterianism in sixteenth-century Geneva, until the <72> time of Charles II. With their claim to a 'pretended purity', the Presbyterians had undermined the English Church. This paralleled the turmoil and strife of the Interregnum; he wrote 'the ensuing story may be parallel'd in our late combustions; actor for actor, part for part, and line for line; there being nothing altered (in a manner) in that tragedy but the stage of theatre'.[72] The Presbyterians were presented as iconoclasts, violent, enthusiastic and seditious. As Heylyn wrote, 'from the principles and practice of these Great Reformers, it hathe ever since been taken up as a ruled case amongst all their followers, that if the Kings and Princes should refuse to reform religion, that the inferior magistrate, or the common people, by the direction of their ministers, may bothe and ought to proceed to a Reformation, and that by force of arms if need so require'.[73] He established from historical principle, that Presbyterianism was contrary to the existence of a stable and religious society.

One of the central components of the historical rhetoric of earlier Anglican apologists was that the English Church had re-established a continuity with a pre-Protestant tradition at the Reformation. To counter the Catholic question 'where was your Church before Luther?' the historical precedents of the Waldenses of France, the Hussites of Bohemia and the trials of John Wycliffe were deployed. This tradition was a commonplace in the Restoration. Henry Care's History of Popery (1678-83) lovingly documented in detail the struggles of the proto-Protestants against the deviant usurpations of the papacy. Heylyn did not consider the English Reformation heir to this tradition. In 1627 the youthful Heylyn had argued against Prideaux, the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, who claimed that the visible Church of England was a direct succession from the Wycliffites. Heylyn upheld the continuity of the Church of England from the apostolic succession, even though this meant that the English Church was derived in part from the traditions of Rome. On Wycliffe, Heylyn complained 'yet had his field more tares than wheat; his books more heterodoxies, than sound Catholic doctrine'.[74] The workers of the Reformation followed no such inspiration. The principles of the Reformation were deduced from 'the more pure and sincere christian religion taught in the scriptures; and in the next place to the usages of the primitive Church'. If the English Church did follow any of the Continental reformers it was the moderate pattern of Luther or Melancthon, rather than Calvin or Zwingli. Heylyn was insistent that the English reforms had not intended to deviate any further from the Roman Catholic Church, than the latter had departed from the ceremonial and doctrinal simplicity of the Primitive Church.[75]


Thomas Fuller, a man who had made an ideological position out of his 'moderation' was one of Heylyn's prime targets. Fuller's Church History (1655) was a hurried production, for the author feared that 'the Church of England be ended before the history thereof'. Heylyn did not receive Fuller's massive work with rapturous applause. He pontificated upon the duties of the true historian, and the dangers of partiality. Fuller's work had dangerous implications, Heylyn wrote, '[he] hath intermingled his discourse with some positions of a dangerous nature, which being reduced into practice, as they easily may not only overthrow the whole power of the Church as it stands constituted and established by the laws of the land, but lay a probable foundation for the like disturbances in the civil state'.[76] Fuller's work not only contained 'aberrations from historical truth' but also 'such a continual vein of puritanism, such dangerous grounds for inconformity and sedition to be raised upon, as may easily pervert the unwary reader, whom the facetiousness of the style (like a hook baited with a painted fly) may be apt to work on'. Heylyn identified the seditious principles which lurked beneath the 'moderate' narrative: murdering of kings was avowed 'for necessary prudence', 'the sword extorted from the supreme, and put into the hands of the common people, whensoever the reforming humour shall grow strong amongst them'. Finally Fuller was accused of betraying the 'hierarchy of the Bishops' in favour of the Presbyterian cause, 'whom he chiefly acts for'.[77] Fuller replied to these charges in the Appeal of Injured Innocence (1659); he insisted that his work had retained its purity, and was not subject to the 'mercenary embraces' of self-interest.[78] Fuller suggested that it was the very impartiality of his work that was bound to subject it to hostile criticism. He wrote, 'the Independent, being the Benjamin of the parties … taxeth me for too much fieriness, as the Animadverter … chargeth me for too much favour unto them'.[79] It was only in old age that Fuller and Heylyn became capable of rational discussion and finally friendship.

Henry Hickman (d. 1692) was the most vocal and persistent objector to <74> Heylyn's history.[80] His works, Plus Ultra, Or England's Reformation Needing to Be Reformed (1661) and Historia Quinqu-Articularis Exarticulata (1673), dealt with Heylyn's evils. Hickman's central complaint was that any reader of Heylyn's work would 'conclude from the doctors premises, that England's Reformation is sadly defectivel.[81] Hickman's complaint was that Heylyn had argued that the first Henrician changes in religion had entirely abrogated the corruptions and superstitions of the Church of Rome. He declared:

Sir you have dealt very deceitfully with your readers in your History, in jumbling doctrine, Discipline and worship together; as if because there was a Reformation in Doctrine, and that grounded upon the word of God, there must also be a Reformation in the rest too (which was little or not at all) and that grounded on the word also; this deceit runs through your Book: you tell us ever anon of a Reformation according to the word of God and the Primitive practice: but in all your book there are but three instances of the conformity of the Reformation to the rule of the sacred scripture, and they are only in point of doctrine and not in discipline or worship.[82]

According to Hickman's theological perspective valid Reformation innovation had been achieved in the administration of the eucharist in two kinds, clerical marriage, and the Common Prayer being translated into the vernacular. Hickman attacked Heylyn's treatment of the 'Zwinglian Gospellers', and reaffirmed their challenge. He wrote:

If any learned man of our adversaries to be able to bring one sufficient sentence out of the Holy Scripture, or any one example of a Bishop, minister, or Martyr, either in the time of King Edward VI, viz. Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, Hooper, Ferrar, Philpot, Bradford, Taylor or any other, or in the time of Queen Elizabeth out of reverend Jewel, who do directly and ex professo plead for, and commend the present liturgy in the frame of it, or that episcopacy is Jure Divino, or for adoration towards the Altar, bowing at the name of Jesus, figuring with the sign of the cross, wearing of caps, and surplices, kneeling at the sacrament, or for the exercise of Church power by lay-chancellors; if you, reverend Sir, or any other be able to produce any such authority or example, contending as you do professedly for these things, the Zwinglian Gospellers will then be content to subscribe.[83]

Hickman viewed the Henrician Reformation as incomplete, and in need of further reform. The Reformation that Heylyn presented as prescriptive was a shoe too tight for Hickman; the misfit was the continued existence of episcopacy. Hickman issued a warning of conscience to Heylyn, 'but Sir, it is good to remember your latter end, you know not that your conscience may be then awakened, and read over this history you have written, and pinch you for the erratas of your zeal'. Hickman demanded the end of de jure divino <75> episcopacy, the bishops ought to return to their primitive lustre, and feed their flocks with the milk of scripture, rather than aim for temporal grandeur.[84]

In his Historia Quinqu-Articularis Exarticulata (1673) Hickman assaulted Heylyn's doctrinal position. The subtitle of his work was a 'History of Arminianism'.[85] The latter was a Dutch theological movement of a liberal tenor; it suggested that man had the competence of will to refuse God's grace. For those blinkered by the lapsarian determinism of Calvinism, this suggestion was a direct assault upon the omnipotence of God, and smacked of popish doctrines of free will which cast God as a debtor to man's good works.[86] Hickman set out to draw the elaborate historical parallel between the conflicts of Pelagius and Augustine, and the division between the Arminians and the Calvinists. His point was to ally himself with the correct pattern of Augustinian theology, while corrupting the integrity of the Arminians with the charge of Pelagianism.[87] Hickman refuted Heylyn's argument that there had been a distinction between the Reformation theologies of Luther and Calvin; he suggested a monolithic predestinarianism for all the reformers. Hickman suggested that Heylyn had attempted to form a bridge with popery at the best, and at the very worst with the Socinians, who upheld the full competence of human reason and Will.[88] He objected to the dilution of Protestantism presented in Heylyn's vision of the Reformation: the latter's conception of the era was that of creating a purged continuum with the past, while Hickman saw it as the seedbed of a new order that had only been briefly glimpsed in previous history.

If we briefly examine the later career of Heylyn's histories it is apparent that Hickman thought he was justified in detecting the vestiges of popery in Heylyn's work. Gilbert Burnet had made this specific charge in the preface to his own history of the Reformation.[89] The Catholic convert Peter Manby <76> preferred to use Heylyn's work against the more Protestant narrative of Burnet's History.[90] The most conclusive evidence is the work of one George Touchet, an unregenerate papist. In 1673 he published his Historical Collections out of several Protestant Historians to propagandize the Catholic claim to the true faith. Touchet's aim was to negate the value of the 'Protestant' past. Having read these histories he was amazed 'to find in them, that the alteration of Religion here hath been totally carried on by worldly interest'.[91] His aim was to inform the reader 'exactly' how the progress of the Reformation was carried out. Once again a Catholic polemicist recommended Heylyn's work as a valuable resource. Touchet cited Heylyn as insisting that the Reformation had been inspired by Henry VIII's 'politick ends'; self-interest was the motivation for the dissolution of the monasteries.[92] Touchet appreciated Heylyn's account and hostility to the 'Zwinglian Gospellers' and the influence of Continental Calvinism. Heylyn's restrained description of the Marian regime was converted by Touchet into a description of Mary's 'moderation'. The latter part of Touchet's Collections was directly lifted from Heylyn's Aerius Redivivus, emphasizing the seditious character of the Presbyterian sect. Touchet stated his opinion about the Reformation succinctly: 'For although the Reformation of religion was here pretended; yet it evidently appears by our English History, that nothing but worldly and carnal interests carried on this business.'[93]

Contemporaries recognized the reactionary nature of Heylyn's works. In King Edward the VIth His own Arguments against the Popes Supremacy (1682) Edward VI was vindicated from the 'severe and unjust censure' of Heylyn's history. Heylyn had commented in his history of the Reformation that it had not been an infelicity to the Church of England that the young king had died at an early age. The author of the remarks was indignant at Heylyn's aspersions on the Edwardian period: 'He says expressly, that his minority was abused, to many acts of spoil and rapine, even to an high degree of sacrilege.'[94] The author reversed this charge, and insisted that Heylyn's notion of sacrilege was not concerned with an idea of dishonour to God, but 'lies in clipping the wings, and abridging the power of Church men, who were little God almighties in the affairs of the Church'. Heylyn's hysteria and censure of the young king were compared with 'the ravings of <77> one of Baal's priests, when good King Josias defiled the high places where the Priests had burnt incence'.[95]

Peter Heylyn was no Roman Catholic, neither was he a Protestant of the Erastian variety. That men could consciously choose one historical interpretation over another was not merely a preference of scholarship, but was a reflection of the historical needs of their particular ideological beliefs. Heylyn's works can be read within the Restoration context as a restatement of the High Church position against the interference of Parliament in affairs of religion, and the drive for toleration and comprehension. To defend the national Church against the claims of popery was the crucial ideological enterprise which faced all Anglicans whether High or Low Church. Heylyn attempted to justify the autonomous status of the Church of England without falling into the Scylla of popery or the Charybdis of Presbyterianism. For Heylyn the resolution of this theoretical tension was found in the historical idea of Cyprianic episcopacy. Following Cyprian he defined Christian duty in terms of obedience to episcopal government. De jure divino episcopacy provided a cogent antidote to both papalist and Presbyterian claims and rendered the national Church independent. While Heylyn's visions preserved the Church of England from obligation to the papal see, it implicitly argued for the independence and separate estate of the clerical order. Other theorists preferred to defend the national Church with a history of the Royal Supremacy, rather than with a clericalist history of episcopacy. The Church of England was to be justified in terms of the regnum rather than the sacerdotium. It was from this reopening of the ecclesiological debate of the Reformation that the radical Erastianism of the infidel Freethinkers originated.


One of the most significant of Reformation studies that contradicted Heylyn's clericalism (and was for that reason strongly recommended to the English Protestant reader by William Nicolson) was Gilbert Burnet's History of the English Reformation (1679-1714). Nicolson insisted that Burnet's work was the final statement upon the subject. It was a paradigm of scholarship. Ranke complimented the work for its modernity, and H. Foxcroft echoed this opinion arguing that Burnet's conception of history was 'essentially modern'.[96] The inspiration for Burnet's work was faith rather than pure research: the History was designed to combat the papalistic assertions of the French translation of Nicholas Saunder's De Origine ac Progressu Schismatis Anglicani (Cologne, 1585; translated Paris, 1676). <78> Burnet started his work between 1677 and 1678: the first volume was completed and published on 23 May 1679. This publication certainly eased the rather arduous process of research for the further volumes. The archiepiscopal hostility of William Sancroft, and the enmity of the Duke of Lauderdale (his former patron), had closed the Cottonian Library to Burnet's investigation. After the first publication its full resources were laid open. Thomas Tenison directed Burnet to many important documents in the collections at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, while Bishop Turner provided him with the services of two amanuenses. On 11 July 1679 a royal warrant threw open the vaults of the Paper Office. Lord Russell, the Chancellor, sent the historian funds, while Lord Halifax offered him a pension. In the autumn of 1680 the University of Oxford conferred an honorary doctorate upon Burnet. The highest praise was the vote of thanks accorded by both Houses of Parliament in December 1680 and proudly displayed in all future editions of the History.[97]

Although the History of the Reformation was ultimately the fruit of Burnet's solitary researches, the Scotsman clearly sought and received scholarly aid from others. The Dean of Bangor, William Lloyd, and the Dean of St Paul's, Edward Stillingfleet, were his primary abettors. In a Letter to the Lord Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield (1693), written to William Lloyd, refuting the hostile charges of Anthony Harmer, Burnet acknowledged this debt, 'it was you both, that I chiefly depended as to the correction of my work; and all the world knows how exact you are in those matters'.[98] Lloyd had provided Burnet with his own chronological collections, and revised the first draft of the history with 'censorious severity'.[99] Burnet, especially after the High Church and non-juror attacks upon his work, made continual public reference to his helpers in an attempt to shore up his integrity and credit. By the 1690s the History was (almost) being presented as a collaborative effort of the most eminent men in the Church. What did the History argue which was so crucial to these men?

In the preface to the first volume of the History Burnet made his intentions clear: he intended to defend the Henrician and Edwardian reforms. He pointed out that there were many Continental works on the Reformation by such men as Sleiden, Thuanus and Sarpi, but no English equivalent. The <79> papist accusations of Saunder's work against the English schism lay unanswered. John Foxe's work was a commendable, but not comprehensive, attempt; Lord Herbert of Cherbury had spent little time discussing religion in his life of Henry VIII; while Heylyn's attempt was such that one would be fair in thinking either, 'he was very much ill-informed, or very led by his passions … that one would think he had been secretly set onto it by those of the Church of Rome'.[100] Burnet intended to answer the Catholic charge that the Reformation had been carried on 'by the lusts and passions of King Henry the Eighth, carried on by the ravenousness of the Duke of Somerset, under Edward the Sixth, and confirmed by the policy of Queen Elizabeth and her Council to secure her title'.[101] Burnet conceived his work as a restatement of the principles of Protestantism against the filth and fables of popery.

For Burnet the Reformation was a reaction against both Roman Catholicism, and the dangers of clericalism. The inspiration of John Wycliffe was heralded as the beginning of the Reformation in England. The clergy of the early sixteenth century were worm-eaten with superstition and corruption. They were ignorant and lewd, men who openly attracted the contempt and hatred of the people, 'they had engrossed the greatest part of both the riches and power of christendom, and lived at their ease and in much wealth. And the corruptions of their worship and doctrines were such, that a very small proportion of commonsense, with but an overly looking on the New Testament, discovered them.' The theological necessity for reform had been aided by the monarchical intent to oust the papacy from the British realm. The king had justified his actions by the precedents of the 'fathers, councils, Schoolmen, and Canonists'.[102] All the manuscripts and statutes in defence of this point were duly placed in Burnet's appended collection.

Burnet praised Henry VIII's reassumption of the imperial authority in Church affairs and deployed Reformation arguments in defence of the royal supremacy drawn from both the bishop's and king's books, and Gardiner's De Vera Obedienta. The Church of England was competent to reform itself upon the precedents of Cyprian and the tradition of apostolic equality, coupled with lack of scriptural or historical evidence for the supremacy of St Peter. The dynamic of Reformation by royal supremacy was defended by both scriptural and rational argument. The primary example was biblical: the case of Moses and Aaron indicated that in the 'Old Testament they found the Kings of Israel intermeddled in all matters Ecclesiastical'.[103] The examples of Solomon and Abiathar, plus Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josias, were supplemented by the actions of the primitive Christians who rendered obedience unto Caesar. Argument from reason was then subjoined. Burnet wrote, 'that there must be but one supreme; and that the King being supreme <80> over all his subjects, clergymen must be included, for they are still subjects. Nor can their being in orders, change their former relation, founded upon the law of nature and nations.' To supplement this argument the historical cases of British kings, Lucius, Canute, Ethelred, Edgar, Edmond, Athelstan, and Ina were all displayed. Monarchical power was dissimilar from papal, since it was bound to be conformable to the laws of God.[104]

In his discussion of the royal supremacy of Henry VIII, Burnet employed the language of renovatio. The king had made no claims to new authority, but simply reassumed a lost power. In the preface to the second volume of the History, Burnet specifically defended the rights of the royal supremacy. There had been much objection to the Reformation because it had been undertaken without the assent of the majority of the clergy, but simply enacted upon the authority of the king, rather than the whole Church. Burnet again defended the royal supremacy upon scriptural, rational and historical grounds. He wrote, 'that such a Reformation can no more be blasted by being called a Parliament religion, than the Reformation made by the Kings of Israel without or against the majority of the Priests, could be blemished by being call'd the King's religion'.[105] This contradicted Heylyn's vision which argued that the Reformation was necessarily clerically inspired, and merely ratified by the king's authority. For Heylyn the 'true' reforms were undertaken by Convocation authority, the role of the Parliament and the monarchy was to act 'post-fact' in creating the power of the secular sword to defend the spiritual injunctions. Burnet countered this narration. Although he attributed some dynamic in the doctrinal reform to Convocation, the clergy in general were treated as a recalcitrant force, self-interested and attached to the revenues of popery.

For Burnet the threat to the Reformation was an internal one, rather than any Continental movement. The enemy was the clergy of the Church of England, rather than a foreign sect. Thus, in chronicling the reforms of the 1540s, Archbishop Cranmer was represented as pushing for further reformation, while Stephen Gardiner was depicted as launching a popishly inspired conspiracy against him. Burnet validated the dissolution of the monasteries as a legal retrieval of wealth for the monarchy, which by 'secret practises' the monks had gained and encroached from the jurisdiction of the civil state. The dissolution was justified in terms of spiritual purification, rather than private aggrandizement. As Burnet noted with approval, Cranmer intended to use the new wealth to create more efficient bishoprics, 'according to the Scripture and primitive rules'.[106]

Burnet's history was premised upon a particular definition of religion: 'Religion is chiefly for perfecting the nature of man, for improving his <81> faculties, governing his actions, and securing the peace of everyman's conscience, and of the societies of mankind in common.' This was the role of religion in its 'true' and pure form; the passage of time saw accretions to this purpose, usually undertaken in the name of 'interest'. Superstition, idolatry and 'priestly dominion' had been erected upon the pure original of Christianity. Burnet's history presented the Reformation as renovating corrupt religion back to its original purity. For example, he focused upon the history of image worship. The reformers were strict upholders of the second commandment, which plainly forbade all worship of visible objects. Such men as Gardiner, Bonner and Tunstall were presented as considering such Reformation as iconoclasm.[107] Cranmer meanwhile, according to Burnet, advanced the Reformation slowly but securely, trusting in the providence of God: English reformation was the mean way between superstition and irreligion.[108] Burnet's vision of true religion and his soteriological theory indicate his implicit anticlericalism. Salvation was to be achieved by a combination of Christ's intercession and individual conformity to the rules of the Gospel: this reduced the sacerdotal role of the priesthood. His attitude towards the Reformation idea of the Eucharist indicates this sentiment. He wrote:

It is certain there was no part of worship more corrupted than this sacrament was. The first institution was so plain and simple, that except in the words, this is my body, there is nothing which could give colour to the corruptions that were afterwards brought in. The heathens had their mysteries, which the priests concealed with dark and hard words, and dressed up with much pomp; and thereby supported their own esteem with the people.[109]

Originally Christian practice had been simple, but had suffered the corrupting and mystifying influence of the priesthood. The sacrament was extended from its original commemorative function, to become a superstitious vehicle for the advance of the priesthood. The English Reformation was characterized as exiling the last remnants of heathenism.[110] Burnet noted that the dispute over the Eucharist had been a hard fought battle because the priesthood saw it as the last bastion of their sacerdos; he wrote, '[they] <82> accounted it as the chief support now left of their falling dominion, which being kept up might in time retrieve all the rest. For while it was believed that their character qualified them for so strange and mighty a performance, they must needs be held in great reverence.'[111]

The Reformation had reinstituted the primitive pastoral role of the clergy. The role of the priest and bishop was to tend to the flock, to catechize children rather than search for worldly advancement. The settlement of the articles of religion was presented as a moderate and latitudinarian action; a return to the primitive simplicity of creeds rather than post-Nicene complexities. The principle of the Reformation was to follow the Melancthonian temper of indifference, rather than scholastical subtlety. The role of the clerical order was to be moral and theological supervisors, rather than sacrificial priests.[112]

In Burnet's third volume of the History (1714), the notion of the Reformation as a pastoral purification of priestly dominion is even more pronounced. The work was published in response to the many attacks that had been launched on the History in the 1690s and 1700s. Burnet perceived all these attacks as popish, or at least indicative of a new trenchant clericalism. He commented upon his non-juror and High Church opponents:

[They] are taking the very same methods, only a little diversified, that have been perused in Popery, to bring the world into a blind dependence upon the clergy, and to draw the wealth and strength of the nation into their hands. 'The opinion of the sacraments being an expiatory sacrifice; and of the necessity of secret confession and absolution; and of the Church's authority acting in an independence on the civil powers, were the foundations of popery, and the seminal principles out of which that mass of corruptions was formed.[113]

Burnet's fear for the Church in 1714 was that, 'we are insensibly going off from the Reformation, and framing a new model of the Church, totally different from our former principles'. Burnet noted that his original History had been written to combat the perils of the Duke of York's popery; the publication of the third volume was a similar timely injunction. He warned: 'It seemed a proper time to awaken the nation, by showing both what Popery, and what the Reformation was; by shewing the cruelty and falsehood of the former, and what patience and courage of our reformers was; and the work had generally so good an effect then, that if the like danger seemed to revert, it may not seem an improper attempt to try once more to awaken a nation that has perhaps forgotten past danger, and yet may be <83> nearer than ever.'[114] Burnet saw the obvious parallel between the dangers of the Church of England in the 1680s and the 1700s; his remedy was to fill the debate with historical visions of the Reformation. He was to provide his readership with images, stories and patterns of popish behaviour with which they could analyse the state of contemporary religion.

The key to the publication of the third volume can be seen in his advocation of John Colet's Sermon ad Cleros (1511) as an anticlerical tract. More's Utopia (1516) was given a similar interpretation. The High Church polemicist Francis Atterbury had made use of Colet's sermon in his Rights of an English Convocation, arguing that it legitimated clerical immunity from civil jurisdiction. Burnet insisted that Colet had attacked the secular involvements of the sixteenth- century clergy. Colet had railed against the practices of the clergy, writing that the 'spouse of Christ, the Church whom ye would should be without spot or wrinkle, is made foul and disfavoured'. Colet argued that the Church had transgressed the Pauline injunction, 'be not you conformable to this world'. The Church had become tainted with the sin of devilish pride, carnal concupiscence, worldly covetousness and secular entanglements. It had become a servant of men rather than Christ.[115] Burnet commented in his Reflections (1700) that it had been Colet's sermon which had inspired his writing of the History of the Reformation. He declared, 'that once I had intended to have published it as a piece that might serve to open the scene, and to shew the state of things at the first beginning of the Reformation; but I was diverted from it by those under whose direction I put that work, they thought that it might have been judged that I had inserted it on design to reflect upon the present, as well as on the past state of things'.[116] This was exactly what Burnet felt necessary in 1714. Like Colet, Burnet insisted that the role of the clergy was to be good, to set a Reformation example, and minister to their flocks.[117] Burnet reintroduced the language of the Reformation; the appeals to primitivism and piety, coupled with an hostility towards 'superstition' and 'Popery'. Burnet considered himself a 'watchdog' against the 'mystery of iniquity' that was advancing in the Church of England. For Burnet the 'true' religion (and that embodied in the Reformation) was 'religion in the soul' rather than the sacerdos of popery. He defined the difference between his religion, and that of his High Church opponents thus:


[I] have another notion of the worship of God, than to dress it up as a splendid opera: [I] have a just notion of priesthood, as a function that imports the care of souls, and a solemn performing the public homage we owe to God; but do not invert it into a political piece of craft, by which means men's secrets are to be discovered, and all subdued by a tyranny that reaches to men's souls, as well as to their worldly concerns.[118]

Burnet was not allowed to monopolize the moral authority of the Reformation unhindered. The stock counter-polemic was that the reforms had been executed 'by the power and interest of a few persons for their own advantage'.[119] This can be illustrated from the case of Peter Manby (d. 1697), a Roman Catholic convert and Dean of Derry. On 26 July 1686 he received dispensation from James II to proclaim publicly his conversion to Catholicism while still retaining his clerical office. In 1688 James elevated Manby to the position of Alderman of Derry. Manby's conversion was a calculated public manoeuvre. He published an account of his reasons for converting, couched in historical terms, The Considerations which obliged Peter Manby, Dean of Derry to Embrace the Catholique Religion, published in 1687, in both London and Dublin. William King, the Chancellor of St Patrick's, Dublin, later to be archbishop of the same city, answered Manby's assertions in his An Answer to the Considerations (Dublin, 1687). Manby was to reply to this work in the same year in A Reformed Catechism, in Two Dialogues Concerning the English Reformation. Manby's original work dealt with the English Reformation. In his examination of the Henrician reforms Manby had convinced himself that the innovations had no true theological mission. He characterized the Reformation as the product of secular and private interests. Manby drew his historical evidence from the work of Peter Heylyn, the High Church Anglican, rather than the more 'Protestant' work of Bishop Burnet.

The introductory pages of Manby's work discussed the relative merits of the two compositions. Surprisingly Manby insisted that Burnet's work was a legitimate description of the Reformation. In his Reformed Catechism he printed, opposite the title page, the parliamentary commendations of Burnet's work. The intention was not to commend Burnet's ecclesiological vision but to condemn the Reformation as incompatible with the prescripts of true religion. While Manby asserted that Burnet's narrative was a true description, the description itself was not prescriptive because it showed the Protestant reforms as irreligious. The years of Henry VIII and Edward VI were times of secular aggrandizement. Archbishop Cranmer had executed the 'spirit of Hobbes of Malmesbury' in diminishing the status and authority of the Catholic Church.[120] The Reformation was presented as a parlia <85> mentary procedure, he wrote: 'The design of this catechism, is to shew … that the English Reformation was not the act and deed of the National Church or Clergy of England; neither in the days of Henry VIII or Edward VI, nor of Queen Elizabeth; but imposed on the nation by the interest and power of a few persons for their own advantage, viz. the raising of fortunes out of Church lands.'[121]

Manby's work was a catechism of history: there are repeated injunctions and directions to the reader. Manby addressed his audience; 'Good reader, I humbly desire this favour of thee, to set aside prejudice and interest for the space of two or three hours, whilst thou art reading this book, which are but pearls upon both thy eyes that will hinder thy sight.' There are explicit directions to the reader to note particular examples, or parts of the narrative.[122] The final pages of the Reformed Catechism are an epitome of the Plutarchian model; the life and characters of Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Manby's bête noire, were set side by side with that of the Bishop of Rochester, John Fisher, Manby's hero. Fisher was presented as the martyr who died defending the Church against an 'inundation of sacrilege, schism and confusion'. Manby's directive to the reader was, 'now Reader, (wer't thou to choose thy religion) consider which of these two guides thou wouldst follow'.[123]

William King's reply to Manby's incitements to Catholicism was similarly articulated in historical terms. King's position was that the Reformation was valid because it conformed to the standards of the historical prescription of the rights of national Churches. King's method was to unmask the deviant content of Manby's preference for Heylyn's text. King described Manby's intention:

he gives this character, that Burnet strains all his wit to palliate the doings of the Reformers, and paints them out to advantage; Heylyn represents them honestly for the most part, and in their own colours: whereas in truth the first doth generally lay down naked matter of fact only, and leaves the reader to judge; and the other passes his own censures and gives his own gloss on them.[124]

In his second reply, King suggested that Manby had deliberately manipulated and mis-cited Burnet's work to place it in a bad light.[125] King ridiculed Manby's claim to be an historian; his work contained 'only a history of the <86> mistakes, or supposed mistakes of some reformers: which is rather accusation than history; and in as much that a great many things are forged 'tis a libel'.[126] For King the history of the Reformation was a demonstration of the truth of the Protestant faith: this demonstration was premised upon empircal {sic} 'matter of fact'. Manby had attempted to present false data. He had asserted that 'almost all the Bishops' in the reign of Edward VI had been expelled from their sees for dissenting from the pattern of innovation. King insisted that in all his researches he could only find five such examples. It was as if, as King wrote, the Catholic religion 'consisted in protestation against matter of fact'.[127]

While the case of Peter Manby's assaults on Burnet's History illustrates the ultimate polemical context of historical scholarship, it is also important to examine the more learned attacks upon his account of the Reformation. Unsurprisingly the initial hostilities came from Roman Catholic quarters, and in particular from France. The History had been translated into French by M. de Rosemond as L'Histoire de la reformation de l'église d'Angleterre (1683-85), and a Latin edition appeared at Geneva in 1682 giving ample opportunity for Continental scholars to appraise Burnet's efforts. The Frenchman Varillas in his history of heresies had undertaken an extensive anatomy of Burnet's historical errors, and as we have seen Burnet spent much time and effort in denying and countering these accusations. Joachim Le Grand in his Histoire du divorce de Henry VIII Roy d'Angleterre et de la Catharine d'Arragon (Paris, 1688) proposed to refute Burnet's volumes and restate Saunder's original thesis. Le Grand argued that Burnet's history was riven with 'fautes'. Burnet's research was not history but polemic calculated to appeal to the radical Protestants in their attempted exclusion of the Catholic Duke of York in 1680.[128] This Catholic assault was given even greater prestige in the magisterial work of Jean Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, Histoire des variations des églises protestantes (Paris, 1688). The premise of Bossuet's argument was that any deviation from the Catholic faith was an indication of the falsehood of such opinion: Burnet's history indicted itself. The English Reformation was a schism from the true Church. The idea of a national Church separated from the universal Church was both anathema and premised upon the false dominion of the civil authority over the spiritual. As Bossuet argued: 'A nation, which looks on itself as a complete <87> body, which regulated its faith, in particular, without regard to what the rest of the Church believes, is a nation which separates itself from the universal Church, and renounces unity of Faith and Sentiment, so much recommended to the Church by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.'[129] This opinion was epitomized, for Bossuet, in Burnet's presentation of the life and works of Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Archbishop of Canterbury. Cranmer was 'Mr Burnet's Heroe'.[130] Bossuet set out to both destroy Cranmer's character and undermine Burnet's admiration for the reformer. Cranmer was a hypocrite.[131]

For Bossuet, Cranmer's most heinous crime was his defence of the royal supremacy and the implied subjection of the spiritual order to the civil power. Displaying the infamous 'Cranmer manuscript' proffered by Burnet in his 'Collection of Records'[132] Bossuet insisted that 'Cranmer and his adherents' believed 'that Jesus Christ had instituted Pastors to exercise their power dependently of the Prince in every function; which certainly is the most monstrous and the most scandalous flattery that ever entered into the hearts of men'.[133] These opinions were no fleeting aberration, but a persistent sentiment of both Cranmer and the English Reformation. Rather than deal with the many and various objections to Burnet's History of the Reformation this examination will focus upon his treatment of Cranmer and the reception of this treatment.

Burnet was swift to react to these Continental insults: in a Letter to Mr Thêvenot (1689) he rebutted the claims of both Le Grand and Bossuet. In reply to Le Grand, Burnet dealt with the mistakes the Frenchman had charged him with. Le Grand's primary error was to 'give Cranmer the worst character that he could make for him'. In the same way Burnet countered Bossuet's arguments and scholarship: the English Reformation was a 'progress' not a 'variation'.[134] Bossuet's portrayal of Cranmer was unnecessarily malignant. According to Burnet the reformer deserved eulogy rather than insult. In his history Burnet had described Cranmer as a learned and moderate divine who followed the pattern of Scripture and the Primitive Fathers. While it is unsurprising that Roman Catholic polemicists should direct venom against a reformer who dismantled the bastions of papalism, <88> the assaults by men within the Anglican communion requires detailed and careful explanation. The Catholic convert Peter Manby using the evidence of the 'Cranmer Manuscript' had argued that Cranmer had more of the 'spirit of Hobbes of Malmesbury' than Christ.[135] The Cranmerian Reformation was tainted with the radical Erastianism of Hobbism. The independent authority of the sacerdos was incorporated under the aegis of the civil state.[136] This Erastian charge was made first, not by the renegade Catholic Manby, nor the Continental antagonists, but by the High Church apologist Simon Lowth.

Simon Lowth (1630-1720?), appointed Dean of Rochester by James II, refused the Oath after 1690, and opposed all Erastian tenets in his Of the Subject of Church Power (1685). Edward Stillingfleet, John Tillotson and Gilbert Burnet were all indicted for their espousal of Cranmer's opinions. Edward Stillingfleet in his Irenicum (1661) was one of the first men to deploy the evidence of the 'Cranmer Manuscript' to justify his opinions. Stillingfleet argued in Irenicum that there was no definite prescribed model of Church government left by Christ or revealed by God. Church structures and institutions could be 'right' not only if definitely commended, but also if the result of legitimate choice. The legitimate authority to constitute Church government was the civil one. The converse of this position was that 'Church power' was not to be considered of 'any divine institution, but only from positive and ecclesiastical laws made according to the several states and conditions wherein the Church was'.[137] With a most 'impartial survey' Stillingfleet illustrated the notion of the mutability of Church government. His prime evidence was the 'Cranmer Ms' which was 'exactly transcribed out of the Original'.[138] Stillingfleet concentrated upon questions (9)-(16), all of which concerned Church government; both the questions and Cranmer's replies were published. Question (9) had inquired whether the Apostles had made bishops by necessity because they lacked the authority of a higher power, 'or by authority given them of God'.[139] Cranmer's reply asserted that the king had authority over all issues, both civil and spiritual; spiritual ministers were to be considered analogical to civil ministers, neither of which held any authority beyond the king's grant. The diverse 'comly ceremonies and solemnities' used in the admission to office were not of theological necessity, but simply for good order. The ecclesiastical men were considered <89> dependent upon the civil authority: this was a challenge to the traditional notion of the royal supremacy that approached the thought of Thomas Hobbes.[140] The orthodox interpretation of the royal supremacy suggested that the civil authority extended over the 'externals' of the Church; Cranmer's view suggested that the Church was a body whose existence solely lay upon the will of the king. In his answers to questions (13)-(14), Cranmer had suggested that the monarch had authority to preach, teach the word and consecrate priests and bishops, in cases of necessity. Stillingfleet noted that Cranmer's clear judgement was testimony that the particular form of Church government was subject to the 'determination of the Supreme magistrate'.[141]

Lowth from his High Church de jure divino position regarded Stillingfleet's Erastianism, even in its moderate form, as heresy, for 'all Church power was designed by Christ, and actually left by his Apostles only to Church officers, the order of the Gospel-Priesthood, the Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons, to be separated on purpose and successively, instated is such the jurisdiction and government, by such of themselves that had before received, and were fully invested with it'.[142] Stillingfleet had been wrong to attempt to assimilate Cranmer into his Erastian schemes by employing 'mistaken Mss', which had been incorrectly transcribed. This error was rendered more capital because Stillingfleet had caused such an imperfect record to be printed 'among the records of Dr Burnet's Church History, and abusing the House of Commons to a Publick approbation of it'.[143] According to Lowth, Stillingfleet had passed the manuscript to Burnet from the Cottonian Library. Following John Durell, Dean of Windsor, in his Sanctas Ecclesia Anglicanae adversus Iniquas ataque Invereindas Schismaticorum Criminationes Vindicae (1669), Lowth asserted that both Stillingfleet and Burnet had left passages out of the original manuscript. Of particular importance was the omission of Cranmer's approval of de jure divino episcopacy noted in his subscription to Dr Leighton's paper which contradicted his earlier deviant opinions.[144] Lowth's general point was that it was unnecessary to print such worthless documents, especially since the opinions contained in them were no part of the legally established Reformation. Therefore any publication of the 'Cranmer Manuscript' had a sinister latitudinarian end of placing the godly Cranmer in the Erastian camp.

Burnet replied to Lowth's criticisms in two acerbic letters. He denied Lowth's malicious suggestion of a 'designed fraud'; he confessed: 'I printed no record in that collection without comparing the copies exactly with the original, for I thought it too important a thing to trust it to any person whatsoever.'[145] To be precise Burnet had printed the sections mentioned in <90> Durell's work, but he had merely placed them in a more convenient order. To prove this he printed parallel passages from Lowth's work and his own collections.[146] Having defended his scholarly reputation Burnet defended his original assertions: Cranmer was a man of moderation and piety. The manuscript contained Cranmer's private and transient opinions which held no bearing upon the theological tenor of the Reformation. Burnet defended a moderate Erastian interpretation of the royal supremacy, although this was certainly radical enough to offend the High Churchmen. This Erastianism did not extend itself with complete Hobbesian rigour. In his Reflections on the Relation of the English Reformation (1689), an examination of Abraham Woodhead's Church Government Part Five (1687), Burnet made his point clearly. The royal supremacy was an architectonic device: the king was an overseer, the supremacy was an issue of prerogative rather than sacrament. Citing Twysden, Burnet argued that the Reformation had merely restored rights to the civil sovereign which had been usurped by the papacy. Civil authority had the power to command anything that was 'just and lawful': the Reformation was a legitimate and moral effect of this power.[147] For all these moderate definitions and denials Burnet and Cranmer were reviled by the High Church for the logical radicalism of their position.

The opinion that the authority of the Church lay solely in the arbitration of the civil power was what the 'high spirited Bishops' of the 1690s despised.[148] Henry Dodwell, writing in the context of the deprivation of the bishops after their refusal to take the Oath in 1689, spoke out for the 'independence of the sacred, on the civil authority'.[149] He insisted that the Church should not be bound by a pattern of the Reformation which threatened its own power. The times of Henry VIII were when 'the invasions of the sacred power were most manifest'. This opinion was justified by making reference to the 'Cranmer Ms'. Dodwell argued that Henry had advanced Cranmer simply because he was willing to betray his clerical function. Dodwell commented, 'so far he proceeded in his flattery of the Civil magistrate, that he allowed no more gifts of the Holy Ghost in the laying on of hands of the Presbytery, than in the collation of any Civil office'.[150] Burnet was criticized for treating as a hero a man who 'wholly resolves all obligation of conscience into civil empire'. Cranmer could not be considered as the leader of the 'true' Reformation since he had attempted to destroy the <91> Church as a separate society: this same Cranmerian spirit was evident in the deprivations of 1690.[151]

If we now turn to deal directly with the replies to Burnet's publication of the third volume of the History it becomes apparent how the battle over the nature of the past intermixed with issues of the present. The 1700s saw the High Church extending their vociferous objections to the nature of the Revolution Church settlement into the streets of Westminster. The crucial issue was whether the Church was to be considered as an appendage of the state, or an independent organization with its authority derivative from Christ alone. Burnet had restated his pastoral vision of the Reformation. Three works explicitly renounced Burnet's accusations: Speculum Salisburianum (1714) by Philoclerus, A Preface to the B…p of S..r..m's Introduction (1713) by Jonathan Swift under the name of 'Gregory Misosarum', and George Sewell's An Introduction to the Life … (1714). The latter argued that Burnet's definition of popery as any independence of the Church from the state was meaningless, for the independence of the Church was one of the necessities of true religion. He wrote,

for my Lord if the Church be dependent on the state, and religion that can obtain the sanction of the civil authority, has all that is required, and that is necessary for the truth of religion. It is the creature of the state, which is direct Hobbism, as ever was propagated, and will serve the turn of the Pope and Mahomet, as well as the true and uncorrupted faith.[152]

Sewell argued for the independence of the Church from the model of the pre-Constantinian Church, proving that the Church had competence of discipline and jurisdiction prior to the architectonic role of monarchy. The use of this model was also deployed by Dodwell, Lowth, Brett and Leslie: it was directly contrary to the imperial model of the Foxian Reformation.

The High Church replies to Burnet's work elided his anticlericalism with the principles of the Freethinkers. Swift noted that Burnet used the word 'clergyman' with such distaste it was if he were 'not of that number'.[153] Swift feared more from clergymen of Burnet's tenor than the encroachments of popery.[154] Philoclerus maintained that the realms of the Church and state were separate aspects of the world with mutually exclusive terrains. The fault of men of Burnet's temper was that they wished to reduce the morality or 'truth' of religion to the determination of the state. Christianity and its <92> Church, for the High Church man, was a transcendent principle not subject to the mutability of civil prudence.[155]

The difference between an Erastian and a sacerdotal vision of the Church became more pronounced after the 1660s. This debate between a defence of the Church in terms of the sacerdotal authority of episcopacy or the jurisdictional competence of a reforming monarchy provided the conceptual language of the later radical attacks upon the authority of the Church. The latent anticlericalism of Erastian arguments was apparent in early works like Sir Roger Twysden's Historical Vindication of the Church of England first published in 1657 and republished in 1675. Twysden, a collaborator with John Selden on the Historia Anglicanae Decem (1652) and admirer of the Venetian anti-papalist Paolo Sarpi, took the encroachment of the papacy upon a pristine British independence as his central theme. The work instanced when, where and how the papacy had erected its illegal authority; the intention was to vindicate the Reformation in its expulsion of these encroachments. The essence of Twysden's position lay in the argument that the papacy had no theological claims to exercise authority over the British Church, thus any powers that were gained must have evolved from the authority of human laws. The latter were revocable by the same authority that created them in the first place.[156] Papal authority had been admitted into England on the basis of 'custom' and was regulated according to stipulations and contracts. Twysden was certain that the English monarchy was not subject de jure divino to the papacy. The historical premise of this argument was that Christianity was planted in England by non-papal sources. The English Church had different ceremonial practices (Easter and baptism) from the Church of Rome, which indicated Eastern rather than European origins. Twysden documented the increase of papal power in England during the era of the Saxons and the Normans. The first great promoter of this illegal incursion was Anselm, who was thwarted by Henry I's firm defence of his rights. Twysden continued to catalogue the infiltration of papal legates, palls, and other apparatus of iniquitous jurisdiction. The papacy had facilitated its claims by corrupting the dependence of the British episcopacy on the monarchy, and replacing it with an obligation upon Rome.[157] Twysden had shown that if there had been any correspondence between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, this had been based upon love rather than duty. The popes could rather 'consulere than imperare'. Twysden <93> in his chronological narration documented the achievement of papal power in England, which was gained 'as I have showed, by little and little, voluntarily submitted unto'. The rights of the papacy in England were rather jure humano than jure divino.[158]

In discussing the monarch's capability and authority in ecclesiastical affairs Twysden deployed the familiar scholastic definitions of 'authority' and 'power'. The distinction was between the ideas of 'ordinis' and jurisdictionis'. The former was the capacity to administer the sacraments. The latter was subdivided into 'Internal, where the divines by persuasions, wholesome instructions, ghostly councell, and the like so convince the inward conscience, as it is wholly obedient to his dictates … and external, where the Church in foro exteriori compels the Christians obedience'. The king had no sacerdotal potential, but concerned himself with the outward policy of the Church.[159] The texture of Twysden's argument worked in the following manner: first he stated that kings, by logical definition, were competent to exercise complete ecclesiastical authority; secondly that this authority had been ratified by custom and usage; thirdly this gave the monarch 'authority' to reclaim such power if lost. The actions of the Henrician Reformation were justified in this framework; as Twysden commented on Henry VIII's titular capacity as the head of the Church, '[it] added nothing new to him but a title; for he and his successor after it, did never exercise any authority in causes eccleslastick, not warranted by the practice of former kings of the nation'.[160]

Twysden finished his work with a discussion of the historical evolution of the attitude towards the treatment of heretics. Following Sarpi he argued that the Primitive Church did very little against such men, but left them to the devices of God. Princes had very rarely proceeded to blood unless the heretic had entertained subversive intentions. Issues of theological defiance were treated with tolerance, because men's various capacities might easily lead them to different opinions and perceptions. Twysden described the gradual control grasped by the popish clergy over the definition and persecution of heresy. Innocent III was the first to erect the Inquisition in 1216; from this point on the practice spread like wildfire. Originally there had been no persecution of heretics because the only offence was against God who alone could effect punishment. Later heresy became defined as an offence against the practices of men and their institutions; persecution became a form of clerical self-interest. Twysden's argument was similar to Sarpi's History of <94> the Inquisition and also gesticulated towards Thomas Hobbes' treatise upon the history of heresy.[161]

In Twysden's work there was a latent anticlericalism drawn from his admiration for the primitive model of Church government proposed by Paolo Sarpi. This evolution of the idea of the royal supremacy as an instrument of anticlericalism was made more explicit in the work of William Denton (1605-91), a theorist who combined Sarpi's histories with Hobbes' Erastianism. In 1680 he translated Sarpi's A Treatise of Matters Beneficiary, a work that informed his own Jus Caesaris et Ecclesia vera Dictae (1681). Denton set out to defend the 'just rights and powers of princes, and civil magistrates': to calumniate these rights was to offend Christ.[162] The Jus Caesaris was directed against all those who argued that the authority of the Church was independent from the civil authority. Both Pope and presbyter were indicted.[163] The subject of Denton's discourse was not the 'mystical Church' of Christ but its visible manifestation. In this manner the Church was to be considered as a society of men, rather than a gathering of believers. The Church was to be considered as a corporation, as 'an union by laws and statutes; or else they were not more significant than so many men meeting at a play or a Whitsun Ale, quod non est aliquid formatum, non est aliquid vere unum; that which hath no set form or fashion can have no true real identity; for it is the form of everything which giveth it a distinct entity of unity'. Denton used this corporationalist notion to explain the relationship between the national and parochial churches. As in the civil sphere each corporation was derivative from the authority of the 'power paramount' of the king, so each parish church was dependent upon the national. The obligation of the particular to the general was premised upon the 'publick power of all societies being above every soul contained in the same fraternities'. To allow independence of decision within a society would be to take away 'all possibility of sociable life in the world'.[164]

Denton legitimated the concept of national churches from the scriptural models of Jerusalem, Ephesus and Corinth. Prior to the Constantinian <95> establishment of the Church, each particular society had been under the particular authority of the Apostles and their successors. Denton followed Sarpi's analysis in arguing that the original form of Christian disciplines had rested upon the injunction 'to love one another as yourself'. This original simplicity and innocence had been corroded by the craft and subtlety of the clergy, thus Christian discipline became 'meer worldly forms set up for meer worldly self ends and interests'. To support this point Denton gave continual reference to Sarpi's Treatise of Benefices. The idea of the historical degeneration of Christianity and the expansion of popery was the central tool of Denton's condemnation of contemporary deviance. He wrote that originally bishops had been by custom and consent employed in matters of Church discipline, 'which in process of time soon degenerated into a usurpation by the artifices of the priests or Bishops, of which Rome in full time taking hold, made great use to the abusing of the power of the brethren, and to incroach upon the principles of the body of the Church'. The present Church was merely an institution that operated for the 'grandeur, benefit, and domination of Ecclesiastics only'.[165]

Denton insisted that the Church had to be understood outside of this narrow hierocratic caste. The Church of Christ was an invisible and spiritual society, governed only by Christ who 'knoweth the hearts of men'. After the ascension of Christ there remained a visible government by teachers, prophets and apostles. Christ had instituted a priesthood that was 'touching the application of the authority to the person' dependent upon the body of the Church.[166] The clergy could derive no power from Scripture, but were servants of the body of the Church, with only the authoritative qualities of exhortation, reproval and rebuke. Denton's argument was premised upon a belief that God had given the body of the Church 'power over itself'. Following both Sarpi and Hobbes, Denton insisted that the clergy had usurped power over this body, by restricting the notion of the Church to 'none but clergy and clergymen'. Combining this principle with the right to excommunication the clergy had established a false dominion.[167] In reality the whole body of the Church, just as in the civil state, had 'the power to make laws and ordain punishments for any of its members'. Denton echoed Hobbes when he described the historical transition of the government of the Church from democracy to monarchy. He wrote that in the beginning the Churches had been governed by a type of 'common council', but that the clergy had established a 'monarchical regiment'. This usurpation had been effected through custom rather than right.[168]

Denton thus argued against the 'Independency' of the parish, by using the <96> notion of the 'independence' of the national Church as a corporation. The illegal 'Independence' of the Presbyterians and Independents was also vilified as an encroachment upon the civil power. This was to create a 'regnum in regno'. The claim to a separate sacerdotal authority smacked of popery. Denton was to define 'priesthood' in a broad manner in order to exclude such spiritual claims. The capacity of the priest was simply to know the truth: ordination was not necessary to create this didactic competence. There was a general right and duty which all Christians had to study for each other's good. He wrote, 'to save souls every man is or ought to be a priest, the command is universal 19 Lev. 17 thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart thou shalt in any wise rebuke the brother and not suffer sin upon hlm'.[169]

Denton suggested that the false independence of the clergy had been facilitated by the force that custom wielded over men's minds. He conceived of the role of the civil sovereign as a restraint upon malevolent interests within society. The only effective way the civil power could operate was if it was authoritative. He wrote 'that the supreme power ought to be intire and undivided, and cannot else be sufficient for the protection of all, if it do not extend over all, without any other equal power to control or diminish it; and that therefore the supreme temporal magistrate ought to command Ecclesiastical persons as well as Civil.'[170] The prince had the duty to preach Christian fundamentals to the body of the people, so to effect this he had to have control of the mechanism that supervised the dissemination of this doctrine. Just as it was a monstrous body that had two heads, so those who attempted to elevate the authority of the Pope or presbyter were attempting to create an unnatural condition.[171]

In Denton's view an established liturgy was a necessity for the well-being of the state. He cited Cicero's dictum that the prosperity of Rome fluctuated with the purity of its religion, and wrote that 'nothing but religion can maintain Humane society; without it all manner of wickedness, and savage cruelties would abound; religion only doth bridle, and keep in order Commonwealths'. If religion was such an important component of society then it must necessarily fall under the direction of the civil magistrate. Since the duty of the magistrate was to keep the body of the people secure, any group that assaulted the efficacy of this action threatened the good of the people, and were thus illegitimate. Just as in a civil context the body of the people would be unhappy with a ruler who advanced his own interest over the majority's, so a spiritual guide who intended to establish his own self gain would find authority and obligation withdrawn from him. The intention of <97> Denton's text was to undermine illegitimate clerical power, and defend the rights of civil sovereignty.[172]

High Church theologians were always ready to point out the irreligious dangers of their clerical opponents. One of the common accusations made by the non-jurors against Burnet's vision of the relationship between Church and state was to associate his scheme with that of Matthew Tindal's Rights of the Christian Church (1706). That the High Church men could make such a polemical connection between Burnet's latitudinarian Reformation and the radical Erastianism of Tindal's Rights of the Christian Church is testimony to the ambiguity of the Erastian legacy of the Reformation. Tindal's Rights of the Christian Church was published within the context of the Convocation controversy. In its assault upon the rejuvenated High Churchmanship of the 1690s, its negation of the idea of clerical sacerdos and its defence of a tolerance within the parameters of a national Church (all called for in the name of Reformation), this work can be seen as a bridging text between the radical Erastian implications of Reformation ecclesiology and Enlightenment notions of civil religion. Tindal presented his arguments in historical terms: in particular in terms of an historical exegesis of the Reformation. The tenor of this history was a radical assault upon the very notion of a clerical order. In face of this challenge Tindal's work was burnt by the common hangman in March 1710 and became the focus of much clerical excoriation.

Tindal's text is a skilful and learned blend of anthropological study, ecclesiastical and juristic history, and studies in comparative religion, all combined to argue for the popular origins and administration of the Church. Citing authorities as diverse as Edward Stillingfleet, John Selden, Paolo Sarpi, Samuel Pufendorf and James Harrington, Tindal denied the clergy any independent authority, sacerdotal, ecclesiastical or legal, from the laity. Tindal united the claims of a national Church with the rights of the private conscience. To justify this argument he presented the history of the Reformation. In particular he argued in defence of the 'Cranmerian heresy'. The Cranmerian Reformation, as Tindal presented it, was anticlerical in intent. Cranmer had uprooted and undercut the very notion of an 'independent' <99> clergy. Once again the 'Cranmer Ms' was cited as evidence. In his Defence of the Rights of the Christian Church In Two Parts (1709) Tindal again reaffirmed that his original point was to defend the fundamental gains of the Reformation against priestly reaction. In Tindal's thought the Erastianism of the Reformation mutated into a notion of religion that, as the following chapters will show, was constitutive of the English Enlightenment.[173]

[1] F. G. James, North Country Bishop: A Biography of William Nicolson (Yale, 1956), 86, citing Tanner Ms. 24. folio 120.

[2] See Nicolson's citation of Lucian's model of the unbiased historian: English Historical Library (3 volumes, 1696-9), I, Preface, Sig. Ar-v.

[3] Ibid., I, Preface, Sig. A5r.

[4] Ibid., II, 88.

[5] Ibid., II, 18-20.

[6] Nicolson noted on the 1684 edition of Foxe that 'the publishers had well nigh prevail'd with King Charles the Second to revive Queen Elizabeth's order and A. B. Parker's canon, for having a set of these volumes in the common halls of every Archbishop, Bishop, Dean, Archdeacon, etc.' (ibid., II, 81-2).

[7] Ibid., II, 82.

[8] Ibid., II, 94-7. Nicolson argued that this partiality was displayed in the fact that Heylyn had employed only Laudian transcripts made from the Cottonian Library.

[9] Ibid., II, 100, 102, 103.

[10] See G. Holmes and C. Jones (eds.), The London Diaries of William Nicolson 1702-1728 (Oxford, 1985), 216, 225; 'Bishop Nicolson's Diaries' by the Bishop of Barrow-in-Furness, Transactions of the Westmorland and Cumberland Archaeological and Antiquarian Society (1901), 38, 39, 40, 42 and (1902), 113.

[11] G. Holmes and C. Jones, (eds.), The London Diaries, 12 November 1704, 225.

[12] M. Sutcliffe, The Subversion of Robert Parsons (1606), Epistle Dedicatory, Sig. A2r-A3v, 4.

[13] F. Goodwin, A Catalogue of the Bishops of England (1615), 3.

[14] Ibid., 6, 8.

[15] J. A. Robliison, The Glastonbury Legends (Cambridge, 1922), 28-50.

[16] Ibid., 34-7.

[17] Goodwin, A Catalogue, 34, 35.

[18] Ibid., 44.

[19] A second volume of Spelman's work was posthumously published in the early years of the Restoration under the guidance of the High Church scholar William Dugdale; see DNB.

[20] See H. Spelman, Concilia (1639), 'Apparatus de exordia christianae religionis in Britannis'; the brass plate and criticism are at 7-10; J. Ussher, Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates (1687), 1-31. On Ussher, see also R. Buick Knox, James Ussher Archbishop of Armagh (Cardiff, 1967), 98-113; and Ussher's A Discourse of the Religion Anciently Professed by the British and the Irish (1687).

[21] T. Jones, Of the Heart and Its Right Sovereign (1678), 124-6, and passim.

[22] Ibid., 128-9, 131.

[23] Ibid., 143-7, 216, 220. The myth of the continuity of the British Church was fostered by Jones who compared the suffering of the English Church to the persecutions of the early Church, see 236, 238, 295-300, 301, 306-14.

[24] Ibid., 365, 413-14, 416.

[25] Stillingfleet, Origines Britannicae, 1.

[26] Ibid., 6.

[27] Ibid., 9.

[28] Ibid., 11-12.

[29] S. Cressy, The Church History of Brittanny [sic] (1668), II, chapter 8. This work was borrowed largely from Alford's Annales Ecclesiae Britannicae in manuscript. Note also that there was a 'Second Part of the Church History of Brittany' in manuscript deposited at the Benedictine Monastery at Douai; see DNB.

[30] Stillingfleet, Origines Britannicae, 15-17, 18-23, 26. See on Stillingfleet's epistemological theory R. S. Carroll, The Commonsense Philosophy of Bishop Edward Stillingfleet (The Hague, 1975). It should be noted that this work does not deal with the status of historical knowledge, or the persuasive role of 'probability'.

[31] Stillingfleet, Origines Britannicae, 28, 35.

[32] Ibid., 37, 41.

[33] G. Williams, 'Some Protestant Views of Early British Church History', History 37 (1953). Williams argues that Stillingfleet's Pauline thesis was accepted by scholars until the middle of the nineteenth century.

[34] Stillingfleet, Origines Britannicae, 58, 65, 67, 69.

[35] Ibid., 77, 96-7, 101.

[36] For an earlier use see the works of Archbishop Laud. Note also that Heylyn referred to the latter as 'Cyprianus Anglicanus'.

[37] Ibid., 356, 358, 360-4. I have argued that Stillingfleet's defence of British independency rested upon his idea of the competence of episcopacy to legislate and create a Church. There were further attacks upon this position not merely from Catholics, but lack of space debars me from exploring these histories. The Presbyterian interest argued against the validity of episcopal government by deploying the historical example of the early Scottish Church. Their point was that originally Christianity in Scotland had been founded upon a system of independent Churches known as Culdees. They argued that popish episcopacy had been imposed upon the Scots by, the advent of the Catholic Palladius. This case was argued in a number of works such as D. Blondel's Apologia (Amsterdam, 1646), John Selden in a preface to R. Twysden's Historia Anglicanae Scriptore Decem (1650), and R. Baxter's Treatise of Episcopacy (1681). The seminal defence of Anglican episcopacy was written by William Lloyd, Bishop of St Asaph, in his An Historical Account of Church Government (1684). Lloyd was a colleague of Stillingfleet, to whom (along with Henry Dodwell) the work was dedicated. Lloyd argued that the Presbyterian case was premised upon false and fictional history (A3r-v, A5v-A8v). In chapter 7 he focused upon the notion of Church government by 'Culdees' (133ff.) His argument was that the term Culdee, or Keldee, had reference to monks rather than the clergy. He showed that the usage of the word was not common until the sixteenth century. The original inspiration for the idea of Church government by Culdess was the self-interest of the monk John of Fordon, who had fabricated such an illustrious past to elevate the prestige of his own order. It is important to note that the idea of Culdees was further deployed against the Church of England for different intents by John Toland in his Nazarenus (1718). See W. Reeves, The Culdees of the British Isles (Dublin, 1864).

[38] Stillingfleet, Irenicum, 298-9, 385, 386-94, 404.

[39] Ibid., 3.

[40] G. D. D'Oyly, The Life of William Sancroft 2 volumes, (1821), II, 346. See also G. Reedy, 'Mystical Politics: The Imagery of Charles II's Coronation' in P. J. Korshin (ed.), Studies in Change and Revolution (Menston, 1972). R. S. Bosher, The Making of the Restoration Settlement (1951); I. M. Green, The Re-Establishment of the Church of England (Oxford, 1978), especially 22-5. See also for an interesting account of the popular reception of the Restoration, T. Harris, London Crowds in the Reign of Charles II (Cambridge, 1987), 36-61. For accounts of the fragmentation of ecclesiastical order in the 1640s and 1650s, see C. Hill, The World Turned Upside Down (1975), and Puritanism and Revolution (1972); A. L. Morton, The World of The Ranters (1975); B. Capp, The Fifth Monarchy Men (1967).

[41] Bernard, Theologicus Historicus in Heylyn, Ecclesia Restaurata (2 volumes, Cambridge, 1849), I, clxxvi.

[42] Ibid., cxiv, cxli, cxlvi, clxxxii.

[43] P. Heylyn, Cyprianus Anglicus (1668), see 'A Necessary Introduction to the Following Work', 19, 39.

[44] See W. M. Lamont, Richard Baxter and the Millennium, 84, 98, 105, 114-15, 131, 183, 243, 249, 251-2, 302-3. Lamont gives an excellent exegesis of Baxter's fusion of the apocalypse with Protestant imperialism: Baxter's ideas of the Christian magistrate and the national Church are crucially distinct from Heylyn's 'Grotian' schemes.

[45] M. A. Goldie, 'John Locke and Anglican Royalism', Political Studies 31 (1983) has shown Heylyn's close identification with Filmerite royalism: Algernon Sidney referred to the cleric as the 'master' of Filmer's work. Heylyn has been given credit for arguing for the rights of Convocation to meet in tandem with Parliament in 1661. G. Every in his The High Church Party, 35, suggests that Archbishop Lamplugh of York used Heylyn's arguments in 1689 to prove that 'no Parliament ought to be called without a meeting of the clergy at the same time'.

[46] Heylyn's High Church prescriptions were also presented in a more simplistic historical form in his A Help to English History; the work was originally published in 1641. It was reprinted three times in the decade following 1671, and finally in 1709. The work was a textbook or handbook of chronological catalogues of the kings, bishops and lords of Church. In this manner the theorizing and detailed narrative of Heylyn's vision of the past was distilled into dates, facts and figures which appeared baldly uncontentious. But as Heylyn wrote, 'these <66> following catalogues will make it evident and apparent' that both regal and episcopal government were legitimate.

[47] P. Heylyn, Of Liturgies, or set forms of publick worship … in way of an historical narration in The Historical Tracts, 50.

[48] Heylyn, History of Liturgies, 51.

[49] Citations of Maimonides at 54, 62, 64, 67, 71. It is interesting to note here that the same work by Maimonides was the foundation of the Dutchman Gerard Vossius' 'Arminianism'. Vossius' translation and commentary on Maimonides, De Origine et Progressu Idololatriae was a central influence on Lord Herbert of Cherbury. The latter's De Religione Gentilium (1663) was translated in 1705 into English. As I argue below, Cherbury's work is essentially anticlerical, and is a formative influence on such thinkers as Charles Blount and John Toland.

[50] Heylyn, Histories of Liturgies, 65-9.

[51] Ibid., 79.

[52] Ibid., 98 and following.

[53] Heylyn, History of Episcopacy, I, 7-15, 30-2. See N. Malcolm, De Dominis: Venetian, Anglican, Ecumenist and Relapsed Heretic (1984) and J. P. Sommerville, Politics and Ideology in England 1603-1640 (Essex, 1986).

[54] Heylyn, History of Episcopacy, I, 56-7, 82.

[55] Ibid., I, 151, 161, 166.

[56] Ibid., II, 41-68. See Heylyn's citation of Cyprian's De Unitate Ecclesia and Epistles, especially Part II, chapter 3.

[57] Heylyn, History of Episcopacy, II, 53.

[58] The pagan temples were converted to Christian Churches, and the hierarchy of bishops and archbishops introduced. Heylyn was not as precise about the number of new bishoprics created from the pagan equivalents, as earlier men such as Francis Goodwin had been, because of the fragmentary nature of the surviving records and the monkish distortions of the Middle Ages. Heylyn History of Episcopacy, II, 62-65.

[59] Heylyn, History of Episcopacy, II, 68, 27.

[60] Ibid., II, 403.

[61] Ibid., II, 87.

[62] Ibid., II, 470.

[63] Ibid., II, 81. See, for example, T. Brett, An Account of Church Government and Governors (1701), 1-7, at 7; 'But why should I trouble myself to collect particular proofs and authorities when it is manifest from all Church history, that the Christian Church before it had any supreme magistrate in its communion for above three centuries, was actually governed by its pastors, and has continued to be so ever since in the greatest part of Christendom.'

[64] Heylyn, Ecclesia Restaurata (3rd edition, 1674- CUL Classmark: Pet. 12.21). Please note that in general I have used the 1674 edition of this work (CUI- classmark Pet. 12.21), although because of missing pages and faulty pagination, where indicated. I have used other versions.

[65] Heylyn, Ecclesia Restaurata, 123-4., Ecclesia Vindicata, v.

[66] Heylyn, Ecclesia Vindicata, 1, 2, 3, 5, 18, 12, 20. See also Heylyn, Cyprianus Anglicus, 2.

[67] On J. Gerson see B. Tierney, The Foundations of Conciliar Theory (Cambridge, 1955), and Religion, Law and the Growth of Constitutional Thought 1150-1650 (Cambridge, 1982); L. B. Pascoe, Jean Gerson: Principles of Church Reform (Leiden, 1973); on Sarpi see D. Wootton, Paolo Sarpi between Renaissance and Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1983).

[68] Heylyn, Ecclesia Vindicata, 29, 39-40.

[69] Heylyn, Ecclesia Restaurata, 95, 101, 191.

[70] Ibid., 234, 230-1.

[71] He wrote, of the reign of Elizabeth: 'But all this while there was no care taken to suppress the practice of another faction, who secretly did as much endeavour the subversion of the English Liturgy, as the Pope seemed willing to confirm it; for whilst the prelates of the Church, and other learned men before remembered, bent all their forces towards the confuting of some Popish errors, another enemy appeared, which seemed openly not to aim at the Churches doctrine, but quarrelled at some rites and extrinsicals of it. Their purpose was to show themselves so expert in the Arts of War, as to take in the outworks of religion first, before they levelled their artillery at the fort itself' (Ecclesia Restaurata, 13; note this citation is from the 1661 edition (CUL classmark L*.10.23(c)). See also H. Hickman, Historia Quinqu-Articularis Exarticulata (1673), who objected vehemently to Heylyn's false indictment of the Reformation: see especially 'Epistle to the Reader' where Hickman argued that Heylyn had catholicized Luther's theology in order to force a breach between the Lutheran and Zwinglian reformations.

[72] Heylyn, Aerius Redividus, Preface, Sig. A4r.

[73] Ibid., 27.

[74] Heylyn, Historia Quinqu-Articularis, II, 8.

[75] Ibid., II, 18, 76.

[76] Heylyn, Examen Historicum, Preface, Sig. A3v-A4r. Heylyn berated Fuller for a paucity of style, for including verses, heraldry and other extraneous material into his history, which was more like a 'Church Romance' than 'a well built ecclesiastical History'. See Heylyn, Examen Historicum, Introduction, Sig. B2r.

[77] Ibid., 'Introduction', Sig. B5r.

[78] Fuller, Appeal of Injured Innocence, Dedication: 'to … George Berkeley'.

[79] Ibid., Part I, 11. In reply to Heylyn's Examen, Fuller dealt with each objection point by point in an attempt to maintain the integrity of his position. The problem was of the reaction of the reader to this assertion and counter-assertion; who should be believed? Fuller identified the problem of radical historical incommensurability when he commented, 'Satis pro imperio, must is for a King; and seeing the Doctor and I are both Kings alike, I return, he must not be so understood; as to any Judicious and indifferent reader will appear', Fuller Appeal of Injured Innocence, Part 1, 50 (note the CUL edition used: P.2.14~2, has a faulty pagination, this refers to the second page 50).

[80] Hickman, a stern defender of non-conformity, was ejected from his Fellowship at Magdalen Hall, Oxford at the Restoration. He left England and lived in Leiden for most of the remainder of his life, see DNB.

[81] H. Hickman, Plus Ultra (1661), 'To the Christian Reader', Sig. A2r-v.

[82] Ibid., 12.

[83] Ibid., 13.

[84] Ibid., 14-16, 24-34, 37-40.

[85] Hickman was to employ history to undermine Heylyn's claims; he wrote that there were two methods of fighting anti-Christ: 'The first apodictical, proving the truth, and retelling the errors opposite to it, by evidence of scriptures, and strength of Reason: the second historical confirming truth by the testimonies and authorities of men renowned for learning and piety' (Historia Quinqu-Articularis Exarticulata, 2).

[86] There is a paucity of work studying the historical meaning and complex usages of the idea of 'Arminianism', see A. J. Harrisson, Arminianism (1938); N. Tyacke Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism c. 1590-1640 (Oxford, 1987).

[87] Hickman, Historia Quinqu-Articularis Exarticulata, 21-8. On Pelagianism, see J. Passmore, The Perfectibility of Man (1974), 1-40.

[88] Hickman, Historia Quinqu-Articularis Exarticulata, please note the mispagination of the CUL edition: references here are to the faulty pagination: 397, 429-32.

[89] See also Burnet to Fulman, 7 September 1680: 'And I shall tell you freely, Dr Heylin is an author whom I have found in many particulars grossly insincere; for I have seen in the Cotton Library many of the vouchers which he wrote from, in which he has with a sort of spite picked out only what might be a reproach to that time, and has left the most considerable things that might represent matters more honorably. I have not enlarged on these discoveries, because I had no mind to expose him more than was necessary; but I give no sort of credit to <76> this authority' (N. Pocock (ed.), The History of the Reformation (7 volumes, Oxford, 1865), VII, 37).

[90] See below, pp. 84-6.

[91] G. Touchet, Historical Collections (1673), Preface, Sig. A2r.

[92] Ibid., 23-4, 77-83.

[93] Ibid., 212-36, 337, 489-90. Note R. Baxter, The Second Part of the Non- Conformists' Plea for Peace (1680), Preface, Sig. A4r, complains about the papist tenor of Heylyn's history, and Touchet's use of it. Thanks to J. Marshall for bringing this to my attention.

[94] Anon., King Edward the VIth, 99.

[95] Ibid., 101, 105-6, 107.

[96] H. Foxcroft, A Life of Gilbert Burnet (Cambridge, 1907), 151.

[97] Ibid., 153-66; N. Pocock (ed.), The History of the Reformation (7 volumes, Oxford, 1865), VII, 1-25; G. Burnet, Reflections upon a Pamphlet Entitled Some Discourses (1696), 80. The most recent account of the History of the Reformation is J. E. Drabble, 'Gilbert Burnet and the History of the English Reformation: the Historian and His Milieu', Journal of Religious History, 12 (1983) - a superficial piece that contains a number of factual errors. See also A. G. Dickens and J. Tonkin, The Reformation in Historical Thought (Oxford, 1985), 108, where Burnet is applauded as a 'major contribution to the emancipation of English history from the annalistic method'.

[98] G. Burnet, A Letter (1693), 17 and Reflections on a Book (1700), 25.

[99] Burnet, A Letter (1693), 2.

[100] Burnet, History of the Reformation, I, Preface, Sig. Bv.

[101] Ibid., I, Preface, Sig. B2r.

[102] Ibid., I, 23, 30, 97.

[103] Ibid., I, 138-42.

[104] Ibid., I, 141-3.

[105] Ibid., II, Preface, Sig. B2r.

[106] Ibid., I, 180-94; II, 189, 302-44.

[107] Ibid., II, Preface, Sig. Ev, (paginated), 9, 25.

[108] One of the most crucial reforms was the publication of vernacular homilies; Burnet explained: 'The chief design in them was to acquaint the people with the method of salvation according to the gospel; in which there are two dangerous extremes at that time which divided the world. The greatest part of the ignorant Commons seemed to consider their priests as a sort of people who had such a secret trick of saving souls, as mountebanks pretend in the curing of diseases … the other extreme was of some corrupt gospellers, who thought if they magnified Christ much, and depended upon his merits and intercession, they could not perish, which so ever way they led their lives' (ibid., II, 27, 30).

[109] Burnet, History of the Reformation, II, 62.

[110] Note the radicals - Charles Blount, John Toland, and, later still, Conyers Middleton - repeatedly attacked the Catholic and 'popish' religions as new systems of paganism.

[111] Ibid., II, 104. The connection between the notion of the Eucharist as a sacrifice, and the power of an independent clerical order was to become a contentious issue in the 1690s with the rise of the Unitarian and Arian theologies, which rejected any priestly sacerdos. See next chapter.

[112] Ibid., II, 164-9, 195-202.

[113] Ibid., III, Preface, xii.

[114] Ibid., III, Introduction, viii.

[115] See 'The Sermon of Doctor Colet, Made to the Convocation at Paulis' in J. H. Lupton, Life of Dean Colet (1909), 296; note also T. Smith (ed.), A Sermon of Conforming and Reforming Made to the Convocation at St Paul's Church in London by John Colet DD (Cambridge, 1661). See also P. I. Kaufman, 'John Colet's Opus de Sacramentis and Clerical Anticlericalism: The Limitation of the "Ordinary Wayes"', Journal of British Studies (1982).

[116] Burnet, Reflections on the Rights, Powers, and Privileges (1700), 5.

[117] Burnet, History of the Reformation, III, 219. For More as an anticlericalist 30-3.

[118] Ibid., III, Introduction, xxii.

[119] P. Manby, A Reformed Catechism, 'To the Reader'.

[120] Manby, Considerations, 'To the Reader', Sig. A4v.

[121] Manby, Reformed Catechism, 7.

[122] Ibid., 'To the Reader', iii-iv, 3. 'Note, let the reader observe here', 33, 64, 86.

[123] Ibid., 86, 102.

[124] W. King, An Answer to the Considerations which Obliged Peter Manby … (Dublin, 1687), 10.

[125] W. King, A Vindication of the Answer to the Considerations (Dublin, 1688), 8-10, 31; 'I desire therefore the reader to look over the history, and compare those who were for the Reformation with such as opposed it, and let him say in his conscience, which seems of God and religion: and not to take the character from the mangled and broken account Mr. M. gives some of them.'

[126] Ibid., 33.

[127] King directed a further assault against Manby's work; in appealing to the individual conscience of the reader Manby undermined the Catholic rule of faith (Ibid., 4, 6-7, 23).

[128] Le Grand commented: 'Bien plus peut-on douter que cet ouvrage n'ait été entrepris pour préparer les esprits des peuples cet changement que voulaient faire au Angleterre au Duc de Mônmout, au Comte de Shaftesbury, au Comte de Salisbury, au Lord Russel, au rests enfin de cette horrible faction de Cromwel toujours opposée a l'autorité Royale, toujours preste a troubler la tranquillité publique, et à ruiner les loix fondamentale de l'état', Histoire du divorce (Paris, 1688) 181-6.

[129] J. Bossuet, History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches (2 volumes, Antwerp, 1742), I, 325-8, 339.

[130] Ibid., I, 298; Le Grand, Histoire du Divorce, 96ff.

[131] 'Here then we have him all at once. A Lutheran, a married man, a concealer of his marriage, an archbishop according to the Roman Pontifical subject to the Pope, whose power he detested in his heart, saying mass which he did not believe in, and giving power to say it; yet nevertheless, if we believe Mr Burnet, a second Athanasius, a second Cyril, one of the most perfect prelates the Church ever had' (Bossuet, History of the Variations, I, 303).

[132] Burnet, History of the Reformation, I, Book iii, document xxi, 220, and following.

[133] Bossuet, History of the Variations, I, 323-5; see also 363-5.

[134] Burnet, A Letter to Mr Thêvenot, 11-12, 23.

[135] Manby, Considerations, 'To the Reader', Sig. A4v.

[136] Manby, Catechism 30-5.

[137] Stillingfleet, Irenicum, 374.

[138] Ibid., 386-93.

[139] Ibid., 390. For a modern edition of the Cranmer manuscript, see G. D. Duffield (ed.), The Work of Thomas Cranmer (Appleyard, 1964) and J. E. Cox (ed.), Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer (Cambridge, 1846). On Cranmer's ecclesiology, see W. D. J. Cargill Thompson, 'The Two Regiments' (unpublished Cambridge PhD., 1960), 247-75; see also J. Marshall, 'The Ecclesiology of the Latitude-Men 1660-1689: Stillingfleet, Tillotson and "Hobbism"', Journal of Ecclesiastical History 36 (1985).

[140] See Hobbes, Leviathan, III-IV, and below, chapter 6.

[141] Stillingfleet, Irenicum, 393.

[142] S. Lowth, Of the Subject of Church Power, (1685), 6.

[143] Ibid., Preface (unpaginated), 12.

[144] Ibid., 484-90.

[145] G. Burnet, A Letter to Mr Simon Lowth (1685), 2.

[146] Ibid., 3-4, reprinting, Lowth, Of Church Power, 485, and Burnet, History of the Reformation, I, Collection of Records, III, 227.

[147] G. Burnet, Reflection on the Reformation, 19, 20-1, 25-6.

[148] See Tindal, Rights of the Christian Church, 257, citing Sarpi's dictum that the Church of England would become priest-ridden because of episcopal pretensions.

[149] H. Dodwell, Doctrine of the Church of England, (1694), v.

[150] Ibid., xi-xii, xiii.

[151] A similar approach was assumed by Jeremy Collier in his Ecclesiastical History (1707-10) who condemned the Cranmerian reforms as 'Erastian tenets' and insisted that God had given the clergy a commission independent of the state (II 89, 93, 198).

[152] G. Sewell, An Introduction, 62.

[153] Swift, A Preface, 31; see also Philoclerus, Speculum Salisburianum, 18-19, where the author suggests Burnet's colleagues are Toland and Collins.

[154] Swift, A Preface, 16-17, 53-4; Philoclerus, Speculum Salisburianum, 17, 33.

[155] Ibid., 50, 69-70, 72.

[156] R. Twysden, Historical Vindication (1675), 4-5. On Twysden and Sarpi, see J. L. Lievsay, Venetian Pboenix: Paolo Sarpi and Some of his English Friends 1606-1700 (Kansas, 1973), 45-6, 87-9.

[157] Twysden, Historical Vindication, 6-26.

[158] Ibid., 68, 72.

[159] Ibid., 93. The example of Gallicanism was also deployed., {sic} Twysden cited (94-5, 105) Charles Le Faye who displayed many historical precedents which showed that 'la police extérieure sur l'église' was in the control of emperors, kings and princes.

[160] Ibid., 107, 117.

[161] Ibid., 142-3, 148-52. There needs to be separate research on both Twysden's relationship with Sarpi's works (see Lievsay, 87-92, who suggests Twysden may have been preparing a critical edition of Sarpi's History of Trent) and the connections between Sarpi's and Hobbes' works on the origin of the Inquisition and the idea of heresy. Interestingly, although Twysden's Historical Vindication is riddled with citations from the 'Wise Venetian', on the specific origins of the Inquisition at the Lateran Council, Twysden cited a rather curious source, Ludovico Paramo's De Origine et Progressu Officii Sanctor Inquisitionis (Matriti, 1598). Paramo was the Sicilian inquisitor who had argued that the Jews should not be persecuted to death because this would compromise the salvation of the world. See E. Burman, The Inquisition (Wellingborough, 1984), 76, 192; H. Kamen, Inquisition and Society in Spain in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Indiana, 1985), 48.

[162] W. Denton, Jus Caesaris et Ecclesia vera Dictae (1681), 'To the Reader' Sig. A2r.

[163] Ibid., 31, 33, 36, 39.

[164] Ibid., 10, 11, 12, 15.

[165] Ibid., 17, 18-19, 20, 21, 23.

[166] Ibid., 24.

[167] Ibid., 82-103, citing Sarpi, Treatise of Matters Beneficiary.

[168] Denton, Jus Caesaris, 24, 26-7. See Hobbes, Leviathan, IV and below, 135n.

[169] Denton, Jus Caesaris, 31, 39, 48-9, 50.

[170] Ibid., 62.

[171] Once again Denton used Sarpi to justify his denial of the notion of two societies of the civil and spiritual. Denton, like Hobbes, attacked the thought of Robert Bellarmine who had strongly argued for the distinction. Denton, Jus Caesaris, 107-11. See Hobbes on monstrous bodies politic, Leviathan, 173-4.

[172] Denton, Jus Caesaris, 191, 195-206. Denton's thought is a complex mixture of orthodoxy and unorthodoxy. In particular his use of Paolo Sarpi is problematic. D. Wootton, Paolo Sarpi: between Renaissance and Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1983), passim, has argued that Sarpi's approval of the primitive pattern of the Christian Church was a subtle ploy to attack the general foundations of clericism. He also suggests that Sarpi conceived of religion as an instrumental mechanism to create social stability, as a form of Platonic or Averroeistic medicine for the body politic. We can see that Denton is widely appreciative of Sarpi's thought, and that he was explicitly anticlerical. How far this hostility to hierocracy extends is difficult to determine. His later work, Some Remarks Recommended unto Ecclesiasticks (1690), was profoundly anticlerical. It indicted the High Church 'linsey-wolsey Divines' who by perverting Scripture set all 'squinting towards Arbitrary Power'. See Some Remarks, 1, 3, 4-5, 7.

[173] See Tindal, Rights of the Christian Church, citation of Selden (De Synedriis), 42, 70, 107; of Sarpi (Letters in English, and A Treatise of Benefits) 257, 310-11, 359, 360-1, 362; of Harrington, (The Prerogative of Popular Government) 170, 357; for references to Cranmer see pages 126-8, 144, 178 and passim. See below, chapter 6, 'Civil Theology', for an extended discussion of this issue.

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